Noah's Compass

Noah's Compass

A Novel

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
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From the incomparable Anne Tyler, a wise, gently humorous, and deeply compassionate novel about a schoolteacher, who has been forced to retire at sixty-one, coming to terms with the final phase of his life.

Liam Pennywell, who set out to be a philosopher and ended up teaching fifth grade, never much liked the job at that run-down private school, so early retirement doesn't bother him. But he is troubled by his inability to remember anything about the first night that he moved into his new, spare, and efficient condominium on the outskirts of Baltimore. All he knows when he wakes up the next day in the hospital is that his head is sore and bandaged.

His effort to recover the moments of his life that have been stolen from him leads him on an unexpected detour. What he needs is someone who can do the remembering for him. What he gets is--well, something quite different.

We all know a Liam. In fact, there may be a little of Liam in each of us. Which is why Anne Tyler's lovely novel resonates so deeply.


From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780307272409
0307272400
Characteristics: 277 p. ; 25 cm.

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Gwen006
Jul 21, 2015

I'm afraid I have to agree with Joni. I usually enjoy Anne Tyler, but this book was boring and I found the protagonist pathetic and unlikeable. He needed to get a life. He did not, and the reader suffers.

WVMLStaffPicks Sep 17, 2014

Tyler's protagonist is an unsentimental emotionally detached survivor of two failed marriages. His relationships with his grown children have suffered from his inattentive nature and now he finds himself out of a job and the victim of a botched break-in while asleep in his new apartment. A curmudgeon with a heart that finally comes to life when he meets Eunice, a socially inept fashion disaster half his age. A funny, touching look at memory loss, aging, family life and the serendipitous nature of life and living.

o
ownedbydoxies
Aug 30, 2014

Ann Tyler - there's just nobody like her and every single thing she's written is a wonderful thing to read and a warm, empathetic view of human-kind.

l
LDPBLM
May 29, 2013

My dear Anne - you are such a good writer - your approach to your characters has changed , however . Gone are your funky , odd ball folks (Searching for Caleb , Accidental tourist ) and now we have us ordinary folk . Regardless , this was a good book

b
Babalouis
Apr 03, 2013

This book was too much like everyday life...and a little boring. It does not take us anywhere interesting in terms of landscape or people. It was too mundane for me.

u
uncommonreader
Mar 12, 2013

This is a novel about aging and memory. Not great; not bad.

u
unJoCo
Jun 03, 2012

I always enjoy Anne Tyler--a descriptive style of everyday events.

l
lindaamelia
Mar 16, 2012

I haven't read this yet but would like to.

sadiearivera May 27, 2011

This book was really slow. I thought the whole novel was cleverly summed up on the book jacket. I kept waiting for something else to happen.

j
Jennmro
Apr 13, 2011

A quick read but not a lot seemed to happen. A lot of time spent thinking about how things made the main character feel, which is never my favorite. Well written though, and perhaps just better suited to someone else.

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sheri06 Dec 17, 2011

This was an enjoyable read..sweet and thoughtful! Loved the characters and the ending!

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