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Noah's Compass

Average Rating 3
( 187 )
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5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(42)

3 Star

(55)

2 Star

(26)

1 Star

(28)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

This is a terrific character study

In Baltimore Liam Pennywell thought he would be the great twentieth and twenty-first century philosopher rather than a fifth grade school teacher at St. Dyfrig. However, to be an accomplished muse takes ambition and hard work; two traits that Liam lacks as his two form...
In Baltimore Liam Pennywell thought he would be the great twentieth and twenty-first century philosopher rather than a fifth grade school teacher at St. Dyfrig. However, to be an accomplished muse takes ambition and hard work; two traits that Liam lacks as his two former wives and his three estrange daughters would testify. He is taken aback when the second-rate private school retires him though he just turned sixty one.

He comes home bewildered only to wake up the next day in a hospital with no recall of the assault in his apartment. Liam needs to know what happened during the lost hours so he begins a quest. He meets thirtyish Eunice, whose élan for life is opposite of his dark world view. Somehow she encourages him to be all he can be; although he insists that is not much he vows to try to shake off his lethargy with reckless abandonment.

This is a terrific character study that avoids clichés so the audience roots for Liam to regain what he once had and lost after years of what he perceived were kidney shots from those who he loved. The story line is leisurely and meandering with no great nirvana as Liam tries with Eunice encouraging him. Anne Tyler is at her best with this super tale of a man kicked to the curb and the young woman who insists That's Life (Sinatra) as "Some people get their kicks stompin' on your dreams" while others will encourage you to "get back in the race".

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on December 19, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

What in the world?

I enjoyed this main character. It was a good read with not much action. The plot was lacking in action but somehow I kept reading endearing myself with the character of Liam. I enjoyed the author's writing style.
When I finished the book, I asked myself what in the ...
I enjoyed this main character. It was a good read with not much action. The plot was lacking in action but somehow I kept reading endearing myself with the character of Liam. I enjoyed the author's writing style.
When I finished the book, I asked myself what in the world did I just read? I am a bit confused as to why it is named Noah's Compass, because little reference is made to Noah. I will be anxious to hear how others liked or disliked it. I would be hesitant to buy another book by Anne Tyler.

posted by mrsbecky51 on February 1, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    Interesting

    I have read every Anne Tyler book I have ever found and liked most of them. This is not her best book but it is an easy and enjoyable read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    GIRLS DORM

    This is the female kit dorm

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2012

    A real sleeper

    Boring & without purpose

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    Anne tyler too sedate even for her

    Been a fan for 40 yrs. Her subtle humor sparse. Her characters not tug at your heart endearing ln this one.wanted to go back to a tyler world of the everyday and revel ln the realities of life. I was so tired of vampires and detectives. At first i was tickled to meet liam but then the joy left. I felt like tyler was saying that is it folks that is all life is. It is not exciting at all. No wonder liam found comfort in the idea of death. But her othet books celebrate the ordinary the subtle. This one philosophically stoicaly accepts it. Maybe we are just watching our lives liam said. O but anne that is why i loved you. You made me feel that even a trip to the grocerystore was living. Romance laughter tears belonged to all of us. We ALL mattered. I too will accept my death but i want to read the books you used to write that made me FEEL.

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  • Posted April 25, 2010

    Interesting

    Anne Tyler's Noah's Compass was an interesting story with a compelling character.

    I didn't enjoy the ending. Something was left unsaid.

    I feel this book would be a good for character study/discussion for a book club.

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  • Posted March 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Beautifully and perfectly Anne Tyler.

    I have been enveloped by Anne Tyler's Baltimore for almost 15 years. Her characters' losses, epiphanies, and mid-life crises have formed an entire world of their own - a world of subtle and unexpected epiphanies. This is the beauty of Tyler's writing - it unfailingly focuses on the characters, not the external plot.

    In Noah's Compass, a middle-aged, twice-married man, Liam Pennywell, goes to bed in a new apartment and wakes up in the hospital, the victim of a robbery. Though he is relatively unharmed, the attack figuratively wakes Liam from his sleepy life. What happens to him isn't logistically dramatic; it is, instead, his attempt to sync his emotions with the reality of his life. He simply cannot feel completely connected to his own life - and though the memory loss from the attack is the beginning of his epiphany, Liam can't help but notice he's always felt this way.

    As Liam meanders though his own crisis, his family and friends skitter around the edges with their own sad beauty: their unhappy marriages; their misunderstood youths; their abandonment issues; their out-of-style harem pants. They are colorful and pathetic and heartbreaking - as is Liam, as is the entire novel.

    Though it is possible to read almost any of Tyler's novels and expect that the main character will have a "my life isn't what I thought" breakdown, there is always something unique about each one, always something comforting about the way Tyler writes with such gentle depth.

    Noah's Compass is beautifully and perfectly Anne Tyler.

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  • Posted March 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Read it only if you have insomnia

    Anne Tyler has always been one of my favorite authors, but this book is unbelievably boring. I listened to it while traveling to my farm in Taos, and the droning voice of the reader almost put me off the side of the highway.

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  • Posted March 6, 2010

    Good Story

    I like Anne Tyler. This is a well writen, simple story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    Another Enjoyable Anne Tyler Story

    I do enjoy Anne Tyler's books. Sometimes I wonder if she has ever been outside of Baltimore. The book is another of her reliable gentle stories about ordinary people who have extraordinary experiences. As another reviewer mentioned, I am puzzled about her choice of title since Noah's Compass is never explained. If it was I missed it! This is not a life changing book but a pleasant reading experience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Out of it

    Poor sole

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Noah's Compass

    I love reading Anne Tyler's books. I read this very quickly and wanted more.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    The characters were okay.

    I did not like the plot. Not one of my favorite books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    No plot--and just one plodding character

    If you love Anne Tyler's work and were happily awaiting her latest novel, you might be disappointed with this book. I wish I had waited for the reviews and borrowed this one from the library instead of purchasing it. The quirky-sweet everyday world that Anne likes to capture has shrunken even smaller, with most of the story taking place inside the brain of a sadsack, confused, infuriatingly mild-mannered, middle-aged, laid-off schoolteacher. This might have made for an entertaining short story, but as a novel, it was sorely lacking...and certainly lacking plot and interest. I found it an enjoyable enough read, but not worth the $25.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Tedious

    I kept thinking this book would get better. It didn't. I always read a book that I purchase, so I continued on to the end. I hardly even understood the title. It had little relevance to the book.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    What happened?

    This the first book by Anne Tyler that I did not enjoy. I never connected with the characters. It felt disjointed. Big disappointment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Not my kind of book - it was depressing mostly

    I gave it to the local library for their used books already as
    I definitely did not want to keep it to read again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2010

    Gentle Story

    This is a slow, gentle book. If you are wanting action, this is not your book, but the sweet humor makes it a pleasure to read. You may need to be an Anne Tyler fan to appreciate Noah's Compass.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Boring!!

    This book was a total disappointment! The characters are dull and not at all engaging. Thank the lord I am not involved with someone like Liam who seems to be content with having no imput or impact on his life. Just because a book is written by a well known author doesn't guarantee it's quality. The small reference to 'Noah's compass', which says that he doesn't need a compass because he's not going anywhere sums up the whole book!

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    Not destined to be in my permanent library.

    I am an Anne Tyler fan and looked forward to this book. While her books are studies of character and of the human condition rather than being plot driven, this one had too much of "nothing much happens" for too long. In the first half, all I wanted to do was shake Liam, I was so frustrated...yes, and bored. I wanted to shout at the author "I get it! Let's move on." It was the second half of the book that finally gave me hope for Liam, then dashed hopes, some uplifting moments with Jonah, some connection with his family. This is an Anne Tyler that I won't reread.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Less than I expected from Anne Tyler

    Anne Tyler is one of my favorite authors and I was anxious to read her latest book. While I enjoyed the book, I felt it was far too short and under developed. It was more like an extended short story than a novel. I've always loved her quirky characters and the way she observes the ordinary in an extraordinary way. This book teased at being a classic Anne Tyler book, but for me it never delivered.

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