Monday, February 22, 2010

Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler

In Tyler's latest book, Liam Pennywell, a "retired" 5th grade teacher, woke up one day lying in a hospital bed. He couldn't figure out why he was there. His daughter told him that he was attacked in a home invasion during his first night in his new apartment. Liam desperately wanted to know what happened in the attack and wondered if he could find a "rememberer" by befriending Eunice, an assistant to the owner of a major developer in Baltimore.
Slowly Liam learned that he had been living a very detached life, devoid of passion and purpose. He never really enjoyed teaching 5th grade and was uninvolved with his family. He realized that he had "never been entirely present in (his) own life" (p.263.)
The conversation between Liam and his grandson Jonah was quite touching. Did Liam notice that he was drawing parallels to Noah in the Bible, simply wishing to remain "afloat?" This is a low key novel showing a lonely man's fear to connect.

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