A classical pedant, he's just been 'let go' from his school teaching job and downsizes to a tiny out-of-town apartment, where he goes to bed early and alone on his first night. Widowed, re-married, divorced and the father of three daughters, Liam is a man who is proud of his recall but has learned to dodge issues and skirt adventure.
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His ex-wife (sensible Barbara) and daughters worry about him but Liam blunders on, His teenage daughter Kitty is sent to stay - though it's not clear who is minding whom. His middle daughter, Louise, is a born-again Christian with a son called Jonah, but her certainties leave Liam still more perplexed. Noah's Compass is about memory and its loss, about incidents and relationships which open up sight lines into a painful past long dead for a man who becomes aware that merely trying to stay afloat may not be enough.
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"Anne Tyler draws a comedy that is not so much brilliant as luminous - its observant sharpness sweetened by a generous understanding of human fallibility." Daily Telegraph "One of my favourite authors, one of the very few I rush out to buy in hardback." Mail on Sunday "A brilliant writer... Funny, wise, tragic." Independent "Tyler brings a scorching wisdom, an understanding of what breaks the human spirit, and the ways in which people try to paper the cracks...Limpidly, singingly written, with dialogue to break a scriptwriter's heart" The Sunday Herald "Prose is as bright and pretty as in her best work. The dialogue crackles and there are insightful observations about the way families create stories to explain themselves" The Times