Monday, June 23, 2014

Noah Didn't Need A Compass

photo by Anna Reavis

Often when I finish a book that has truly engaged me, like Kafka on the Shore, I have a good bit of difficulty choosing my next read.  Last week after finishing my first Murakami,  I promptly ordered three more, but as they didn’t arrive for several days, and I wasn’t about to go bookless, I had to do something.  So I trekked down to the library to see what was new (to them) and found a copy of an Anne Tyler book that had been donated by another patron.  Noah’s Compass is a small volume in which nothing much happens, but I enjoyed it just the same.  I’d forgotten how approachable and likeable I find Anne Tyler’s voice.  

In Noah’s Compass, Liam is a 60 year old divorced man who has little contact with his family and who has just lost his job of many years.  After he is attacked in his new down-sized apartment and wakes up from a concussion, he begins to realize how much he has been coasting, out of touch with his own life.  While this was a small book and a quick read, it does touch on what I think is an important issue in our society:  the isolation and alienation born of the dissolution of marriage and family and of our loss of community.  Liam realizes that he, like Noah, hasn’t needed a compass, because neither of them was ever really going anywhere.   At the resolution of the book, though, Liam finds redemption in a way he never anticipated.  I do love a quick read with a happy ending.

And now the I keep reading Anne Tyler, or do I tackle my new Murakamis?  Any recommendations on favorite Anne Tylers?  



JoAnn said...

I read a lot of Anne Tyler's earlier books, but over the past 5-10 years I've been listening. She has become an "audio author" for me. Of her more recent books, I really liked Digging to America.

thecuecard said...

Well I've read 2 Anne Tyler books over the years. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant and The Accidental Tourist. Both are good. You can't go wrong! cheers.

Vintage Reading said...

Can't believe I missed an Anne Tyler post! Have you read The Accidental Tourist? It's wonderful and as, JoAnn says, so is Digging to America. Many people believe Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant is her best book but its a little sad for me.

Amy said...

Thanks all! I think my library has The Accidental Tourist, so I'll start there.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Off the top of my head, I think Digging to America is one of my favorite Anne Tyler books, but I loved that Ladder of Years started off with the main character leaving her family at the beach and just walking away, wearing her swimsuit. Here's what Amazon says about that book:

"BALTIMORE WOMAN DISAPPEARS DURING FAMILY VACATION." The headlines are all the same: Beloved mother and wife Delia Grinstead was last seen strolling down the Delaware shore, wearing only a bathing suit and carrying a beach tote with five hundred dollars tucked inside. To the best of her family's knowledge, she has disappeared without a trace.
But Delia didn't disappear. She ran.
Exhausted with her routine and everyone else's plans for her, Delia needed an out, a chance to make a new life for herself and to become a different person. The new Delia can let go of all the hurt and resentment that left her stuck in her past. As she eagerly sheds the pieces of herself she no longer needs, Delia discovers feelings of passion and wonder she'd long since forgotten. The thrill of walking away from it all leads to a newfound sense of self and the feeling that she is, finally, the star of her own life story.

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