Noah's Compass: A Novel

Front Cover
Alfred A. Knopf, 2009 - Fiction - 277 pages
46 Reviews
From the incomparable Anne Tyler, a wise, gently humorous, and deeply compassionate novel about a schoolteacher, who has been forced to retire at sixty-one, coming to terms with the final phase of his life.

Liam Pennywell, who set out to be a philosopher and ended up teaching fifth grade, never much liked the job at that run-down private school, so early retirement doesn’t bother him. But he is troubled by his inability to remember anything about the first night that he moved into his new, spare, and efficient condominium on the outskirts of Baltimore. All he knows when he wakes up the next day in the hospital is that his head is sore and bandaged.

His effort to recover the moments of his life that have been stolen from him leads him on an unexpected detour. What he needs is someone who can do the remembering for him. What he gets is—well, something quite different.

We all know a Liam. In fact, there may be a little of Liam in each of us. Which is why Anne Tyler’s lovely novel resonates so deeply.


From the Hardcover edition.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ChristineEllei - LibraryThing

Liam Pennywell is a 60 year old teacher who has just been fired from his current teaching position. Subsequently has just moved into a small, modest apartment and on his first night there suffers a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Roseredlee - LibraryThing

I begin each new Tyler novel with trepidation - can she still work the magic? The answer here is a resounding yes. Featuring another of her characters who has buried their emotions to avoid hurt, the ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is her eighteenth novel. Her eleventh, Breathing Lessons, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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