Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Noah's Compass - Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler is one of my comfort-read authors. She's written 18 novels over 46 years, and I've only read a handful, so when I'm in the mood for a quick read that I know will be satisfactory, I turn to her. Noah's Compass is her latest, but definitely not her greatest. It is the story of recently laid off elementary school teacher, Liam Pennywell. In his new stage in life, Liam decides to downsize to a small apartment where on the first night he is knocked unconscious by a burglar and taken to the emergency room. Unable to remember the details of the attack, Liam becomes obsessed with this small window of memory, causing him to reevaluate his life path up to that point and beyond. We meet Liam's three daughters, an ex-wife, and a new love interest - all in his attempt to just get his bearings and find his new direction. I found the dialogue between the characters particularly irritating and unrealistic. At times there seemed to be too much going on with the different relationships between the characters, nothing quite getting resolved or addressed adequately. At the same time, I suppose, it is a realistic account of what an aging man's life would look like - not neatly in parts, but all over the place. It was definitely the quick read that I ancitipated, but not nearly as satisfying as other Tyler books I've read.

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