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Noah's Compass (Paperback)

Author:  Anne Tyler
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Learn more about Noah's Compass:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0345516591
ISBN-13: 9780345516596
Sku: 215290741
Publish Date: 1/25/2011
Pages:  277
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Includes an author interview and discussion questions.
Anne Tyler's protagonists are commonly described as "unassuming," yet her readers know that these characters are flawed in that they assume too much. From the tranquil torment of young Ian Bedloe in SAINT MAYBE, to the repressive hesitancy of Macon Leary in THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, to the bemused regret of Rebecca Davitch in BACK WHEN WE WERE GROWNUPS, Tyler excels at creating characters who settle for their assumptions about life, rather than putting their comfort at risk through exploration. Her latest patron saint of restraint is Liam Pennywell, a sixtyish man who becomes unmoored after losing his teaching job and suffering a concussive blow to the head from an unknown assailant. As Pennywell tries to re-assemble the pieces of his memory he lost as a result of the attack, he gradually comes to the pained realization that his life has been so insignificant that it is perhaps left forgotten. He encounters an impulsive younger woman named Eunice, who begins teaching him the pleasures of living spontaneously, but as he sheds his former self, he may be losing the stability he needs to tolerate her anxious quirks.
Author Bio
Anne Tyler
Anne Tyler was born in Minnesota, but grew up in a Quaker family in North Carolina; her father was a chemist, her mother a social worker. Tyler graduated from Duke University at 19, where she won the Anne Flexner Award for creative writing. She did postgraduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University and worked in university libraries before moving to Baltimore, the city she has made her own as a setting for much of her fiction. Her first three novels, beginning with IF MORNING EVER COMES (1964), were successful enough that she could begin writing full time. Her 1986 novel, THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, won in National Book Critics Circle Award and was made into a film. In 1989, Tyler won the Pulitzer Prize for BREATHING LESSONS.


"When the pivotal surprise of the novel comes, one is surprised--and then doubly surprised at not having anticipated this common hitch in adult romances. Tyler has brought us so far into a world where the ordinary does not obtain in ordinary ways--a world just a few degrees askew, as Tyler's best worlds tend to be--that we lose sight of likely events as indeed likely." - Annmarie S. Drury 08/07/2009

"Tyler's gift is to make the reader empathize with this flawed but decent man, and to marvel at how this determinedly low-key, plainspoken novelist achieves miracles of insight and understanding." (starred review) 09/21/2009

"Reading...[NOAH'S COMPASS] reminded me of my neighbor's legendary Maryland crab soup: pure pleasure going down. And as with the soup, the long-term rewards lie in trying to figure out how she did it. Days later, questions remain. Tyler's subtle treatment of middle-American ingredients is not so simple after all....Tyler deftly portrays the small navigational choices that interlock her characters in mutual misunderstanding. That they're so good at hiding the effects of these choices from one another only underscores that a tragedy does not have to be explosive to be real." - Helen W. Mallon 01/03/2010

"Everyone loves Anne Tyler, and her 18th novel will doubtless supply another reason. Wry and affectionate, NOAH'S COMPASS reads quickly, in language so plain and simple it carries the aura of a folktale....Tyler...strips away all trappings, exoticism, even texture, to lay bare the striving American soul." - Joan Frank 01/03/2010

"Throughout NOH'S COMPASS...[Tyler] reveals, with unobtrusive mastery, the disconcerting patchwork of comedy and pathos that marks all our lives." - Michael Dirda 01/07/2010

Product Attributes

Product attributeeBooks:   Kobo
Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0277
Product attributePublisher:   Ballantine Books
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