Friday, February 5, 2010

Noah's Compass

Since all I've been doing is reading, it's hard to believe that I only have one book to recommend and I only recommend it with reservations.
Some of Anne Tyler's books have been so pertinent in my life, particularly Back When We were Grownups and Ladder of Years, so I had high hopes for Noah's Compass. I have to say it only fed my depression instead of easing it. It's the story Liam, a 'laid-off' aging teacher with no real connection to his family and no meaning in his life.
Early on he is attacked in his bed and has no memory of the incident. "This was not his true self, he wanted to say. This was not who he really was. His true self had gone away from him and had a crucial experience without him and failed to come back afterward." Those words seem to describe my own self as well.
The title comes from a discussion with his four year old grandson about Noah not needing a compass. "...Noah didn't need to figure out directions, because the whole world was underwater and so it made no difference." That little bit alone didn't justify.
Liam begins to find some joy and meaning in his life, but this too is pulled out from under him. I had a hard time feeling anything other than pity. While there are several parts in the book I could've, might've cried, I didn't, which is telling in itself.
My final thought would be, don't bother.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ann, I just finished Noah's Compass and was also disappointed. I am a huge Anne Tyler fan, but hated the ending, if that is what you could call it. Hope everything is going well. I read your blog all the time. Congratuations on the new grandbaby.

Kelly said...

Hi Ann! So good to finally meet you in person this past weekend. You and Davi were a delight. I haven't read any Ann Tyler, but I am an avid reader. Just finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and absolutely loved it. Here's the link:

Kelly said...

Oh! and I just saw that you have a link to Wyanne on your links list! Wy is a dear friend of mine! She lives 20 minutes from me. :-)