I am a big fan of Anne Tyler's books so I was very excited when I eventually managed to get a copy of her latest book, Noah's compass, from the library this week. This is her 18th novel and it didn't disappoint me.
In the first chapter we meet Liam, who is in the process of downsizing into a new apartment after being made redundant from his job as a teacher. He unpacks, has some dinner, and goes to bed. At the start of the next chapter, he wakes up in hospital, and has no memory of how he got there. It turns out that he failed to lock one of the doors to his new apartment and was attacked by an intruder. Liam is hugely traumatised by the fact that he can't remember the incident and sets out to try to come to terms with it whilst struggling to make sense of his life until the incident and his relationships with his children and ex wife. One of my favourite parts of the book was that when Liam spends time with his grandson who has been given a heavily Christian upbringing by his daughter; Liam helps with biblical colouring books and struggles to answer questions such as how Noah steered the ark (hence the title of the book).
What I love about Anne Tyler's books is the gentle story telling which actually cleverly deals with lots of serious issues. There is always a strong cast of characters and the books give insight into small town American life in a way that is easily accessible for a British reader.
Overall, it wasn't quite my favourite Tyler novel, as it felt a bit "slighter" than some of her other novels; if you haven't read any Tyler before then I'd start with Digging to America or Back when we were grownups. I'd be interested to hear which other Tyler novels people have read and which are you favourites.
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