Sunday, February 2, 2014

Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler

image by LibraryThing
I haven't read an Anne Tyler for a while, so I anticipated this vacation read and it didn't let me down!

When I read Tyler I am struck by the ordinariness of the world she creates.  It makes me want to open my eyes wider and look around at my own life and see what is happening!

The irony is that Liam, the main character in this story, is utterly unable to notice the world around him. He has recently been let go at the school where he was teaching 5th grade, he should have complained that he had seniority, but why bother.  Because of his shrinking salary he moved to a much smaller and less desirable apartment, and the first night he spends in this new apartment he is attacked by a thief and wakes in the hospital.

When he awakes, he remembers nothing of the attack.  Because he can't remember the events that brought him to the hospital he is utterly fixated on his memory loss.  Fixated in a way that he has not experienced before.  The reader finds that out as his ex-wife and three daughters enter his hospital room and his apartment and his life.  Liam was clearly not a part of their lives - at least not on purpose!

And so this story follows Liam as he 'wakes' up to mess he has created by not being present even when he was.

I loved this book.

I love the way Tyler creates her characters. I have a feeling I would not really like Liam if I were to meet him in my work.  But on the pages, it is completely different!

Instead,  I loved the way Liam relished in his aloneness until he was really alone and in that moment he understood what he had missed. I loved the relationship that he created with Eunice Dunstead, a professional rememberer.  And I loved his relationships with his daughters - each one completely different and yet quite the same.

This is a quiet book about a huge event.  And I loved it!!

No comments: