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My first novel, Love Me Back, was published on September 16. Writing the book took seven years, and along the way three chapters were published in... Continue »
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Noah's Compass

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Noah's Compass Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

“Gracefully written tragicomedy...seasoned with poetic images [and] gentle humor.” USA Today

Review:

"An arresting premise [that] pays off in unexpected ways....Tyler’s writing is as lovely and transparent as ever." The Boston Globe

Review:

"Tyler’s most profound strengths lie in her ability to make her stories resonate with readers....With self-assurance and her trademark empathy, Tyler makes the commonplace uncommonly rich and the ordinary extraordinarily touching." Richmond Times-Dispatch

Review:

“A gripping, page-turner of a novel [that] radiates with life.” Houston Chronicle

Review:

“[Tyler] reminds us of the infinite reach of our humanity.” Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review:

“[A] sensitive, witty story.” The Washington Post

Review:

“[An] offbeat delight.” O: The Oprah Magazine

Review:

"Everyone loves Anne Tyler...and her 18th novel will doubtless supply another reason." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Noah's Compass is immensely readable. It displays many of Tyler's finest qualities: her sharp observation of humanity, her wry comedy; the luminous accuracy of her descriptions....Her's is a fine-grained art, whose comedy could easily coarsen into the self-consciously quirky. If it does not, this is because her surprises are rooted in character: it is human nature that she evidently finds infinitely fascinating and surprising, with its constantly unforeseeable capacity for change....[A] novel by Anne Tyler is cause for celebration." Caroline Moore, The Sunday Telegraph

Review:

"Tyler reveals, with unobtrusive mastery, the disconcerting patchwork of comedy and pathos that marks all our lives." Michael Dirda, The Wall Street Journal

Review:

"Dazzling....A beautifully subtle book, an elegant contemplation of what it means to be happy." Elizabeth Day, The Observer, UK

Review:

"Fired from his job, Liam Pennywell moves into a small apartment and wakes up the next morning in the hospital with head injuries he can't explain. What turns out to have been an attack by a thief leads to unexpected grace, as Liam is forced to engage more deeply with his family and with a woman who finds him irresistible." More magazine

Review:

"Pure pleasure" Helen W. Mallon, Philadelphia Inquirer

About the Author

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is her eighteenth novel. Her eleventh, Breathing Lessons, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

majhillier, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by majhillier)
This extremely well written book by Anne Tyler seems to be a bland little tale of Liam Pennywell, a divorced man retiring from his teaching job at a boys school when it becomes clear it's retire or be pushed out. To economize he gives up his very nice apartment in a lovely old building near the school campus for a ground floor apartment in newer building (read: shabby modern) in a dicey neighborhood. He is unaware of the nature of his new environment, although everyone else is dismayed by the locale as they help him move in. His first night in his new flat he is attacked while asleep in his own bed. As a result he suffers from selective memory loss; he cannot remember being attacked. This loss distresses Liam and he tries very hard to reclaim his memory while his ex-wife and family cannot understand why that is important. People seem to fall into his life; his youngest daughter comes to spend the night and decides she'd rather live with dad than disciplinarian mom, the assistant of a wealthy businessman decides Tom should be her husband, although it turns out she already has one of those. Tyler fools the reader into thinking this is a story of a man coming to grips with the loss of his memory as a metaphor for finally re-engaging with his life, but no dear reader, Tyler has something worse coming for Liam. Tyler very late in the work reveals how long before we met Liam, his life was derailed by a devastating loss, one that he never tried to sort out. How that lack of coming to grips with tragedy effects the character's choices at the end of the story is heart-breaking. Anne Tyler is a very wicked woman writing very subtle stories that leave one wracked and if I could I would press this book insistently into your hand and not let you leave without it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345516596
Author:
Tyler, Anne
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20110131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
7.91 x 5.16 x .63 in .5 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Noah's Compass New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.00 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345516596 Reviews:
"Review" by , “Gracefully written tragicomedy...seasoned with poetic images [and] gentle humor.”
"Review" by , "An arresting premise [that] pays off in unexpected ways....Tyler’s writing is as lovely and transparent as ever." The Boston Globe

"Review" by , "Tyler’s most profound strengths lie in her ability to make her stories resonate with readers....With self-assurance and her trademark empathy, Tyler makes the commonplace uncommonly rich and the ordinary extraordinarily touching."
"Review" by , “A gripping, page-turner of a novel [that] radiates with life.”
"Review" by , “[Tyler] reminds us of the infinite reach of our humanity.”
"Review" by , “[A] sensitive, witty story.”
"Review" by , “[An] offbeat delight.”
"Review" by , "Everyone loves Anne Tyler...and her 18th novel will doubtless supply another reason."
"Review" by , "Noah's Compass is immensely readable. It displays many of Tyler's finest qualities: her sharp observation of humanity, her wry comedy; the luminous accuracy of her descriptions....Her's is a fine-grained art, whose comedy could easily coarsen into the self-consciously quirky. If it does not, this is because her surprises are rooted in character: it is human nature that she evidently finds infinitely fascinating and surprising, with its constantly unforeseeable capacity for change....[A] novel by Anne Tyler is cause for celebration."
"Review" by , "Tyler reveals, with unobtrusive mastery, the disconcerting patchwork of comedy and pathos that marks all our lives."
"Review" by , "Dazzling....A beautifully subtle book, an elegant contemplation of what it means to be happy."
"Review" by , "Fired from his job, Liam Pennywell moves into a small apartment and wakes up the next morning in the hospital with head injuries he can't explain. What turns out to have been an attack by a thief leads to unexpected grace, as Liam is forced to engage more deeply with his family and with a woman who finds him irresistible."
"Review" by , "Pure pleasure"
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