23 February 2012

Anne Tyler: Noah's Compass (2009)

A little like Barnaby Gaitlin in A Patchwork Planet, Liam Pennywell in Noah's Compass is a loser. He's divorced of course, and his first wife killed herself not long after giving birth. And his grade-school just made him redundant. And he's downsized his appartment, thinking perhaps he can afford to retire at the age of sixty. And then he wakes up in hospital to another loss: his memory after being hit on the head by a burglar during the night.

After recovering, he feels his life is shriveling up 'like one of those mouse carcasses you find beneath a radiator'. And when suddenly the chance of transforming his life comes, with the 38-year-old Eunice who loves him and whom he loves, but he loses out again because she's lied and has a husband, and because his conscience won't allow him to accept it if she leaves him for him.

In a sense he makes himself the loser, one of Tyler's self-destructive characters, and the narrator italicizes the aftermath feelings: 'I am not especially unhappy, but I don't see any particular reason to go on living'.

Nevertheless, he continues.The links below are to Anne Tyler novels I've written posts on:

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Anne Tyler: If Morning Ever Comes (1964)
Anne Tyler: The Tin Can Tree (1965)
Anne Tyler: The Clock Winder (1972)
Anne Tyler: Celestial Navigation (1974)
Anne Tyler: Earthly Possessions (1977)
Anne Tyler: Morgan's Passing (1980)
Anne Tyler: Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982)
Anne Tyler: The Accidental Tourist (1985)
Anne Tyler: Breathing Lessons (1988)
Anne Tyler: Ladder of Years (1995)
Anne Tyler: A Patchwork Planet (1998)
Anne Tyler: Back When We Were Grownups (2001)
Anne Tyler: The Amateur Marriage (2004)
Anne Tyler: Digging to America (2006)
Anne Tyler: The Beginner's Goodbye (2012)
Anne Tyler: A Spool of Blue Thread (2015)

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