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Anne Tyler directs with “Noah’s Compass”

Something clutches at the heart in the opening pages of “Noah's Compass”, the latest offering from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Anne Tyler. It's not just that Liam Pennywell, the protagonist, at 60 is laid off, divorced, apparently alone in the world and, within a week of being downsized, has swapped his large, old-fashioned, dignified apartment for a cinderblock box on the outskirts of Baltimore. You flip through “Noah’s Compass” a second time, you notice that there’s quite a lot about doors. The most important ones in the novel are the patio doors that Liam Pennywell leaves open on his night in the small apartment he takes in a scuzzy part of Baltimore after he loses his job teaching ancient history at a private school. A burglar slips through them, brains Liam and then escapes without taking anything, but leaving a bite mark on his victim’s hand. Noah didn't need a compass, a rudder or a sextant because he wasn't going anywhere; he just bobbed along trying to stay afloat. Liam Pennywell, the 60 year old narrator of Anne Tyler's latest novel, “Noah's Compass”, has been getting by without a compass for years. Alone, unemployed, a little lonely, closed off, thinking his life is behind him, Liam has what you call a "life-changing experience". In fact, he has two of them; one is physical and the other metaphorically dangles in front of him his much needed "compass", if he'll only recognize it. To open an Anne Tyler novel is to open yourself to care about her characters and Noah's Compass” is no different. Chances are there that you’ll fall in love with Liam Pennywell and Eunice Dunstead, (a "rememberer"). Even Tyler's less loving characters are appealing through their all-too-human faults. Liam's stern older sister, his brisk ex-wife, and his three daughters, are all endearing in their own way. One never wishes evil on a Tyler character because they all reflect back something of yourselves. Her characters are familiar, archetypal and "Tyler-esque"; in all her novels we see people who are stumbling around in the dark. They don't even grope for their identities and their life purposes, those things just seem to fall upon them like odds and ends off an attic shelf. During the course of this seemingly simple yet complex little novel, you are introduced to the cast of characters that make up Liam's past - his wives, his daughters, his own parents, and an oddball (this is Anne Tyler country) woman with whom Liam establishes a rapport. There is not a lot of action in this novel. Although the storyline doesn’t span over a long time period,, and the story takes place over just one year. Yet, Anne Tyler once again makes brilliant observations about people and what makes us tick. You may think your experiences and reflections and hopes and dreams are unique - but they're not. They are shared, and there were many moments in this book that just had me shaking my head in recognition and empathy. Her observations about aging are spot on, and her scripting is not just a pleasure to go on reading, but also a thought provoking one for you. Noah's Compass is a beautifully subtle book, an elegant contemplation of what it means to be happy and the consequences of a defensive withdrawal from other people. Life, Tyler seems say, is at its best when we let it be messy and unstructured; when, like Jonah, we allow ourselves to colour outside the lines. Just the perfect projection of life that this book by Tyler brings to you, and RightBooks.in gives you the chance to buy it. Get into the page at www.rightbooks.in/product_details.asp?pid=9780099549390&Noah%20s%20Compass now for all the buying formalities.

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