Noah’s Compass

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Face it: I haven’t exactly covered myself with glory. I just don’t seem to have the hang of things somehow. It’s as if I’ve never been entirely present in my own life.”

If you are familiar with Anne Tyler’s wonderful books, you know they are peopled with eccentric characters who are somehow at odds with the world that most people know. She draws you into their sideways lives and makes you care about them. She uncovers their hurts and vulnerabilities, their missed opportunities and damaged relationships. But ultimately she demonstrates how love and joy and hope can emerge from the simplest and most ordinary circumstances.

Liam Pennywell is sixty-one years old and has just been “downsized” from his job as a teacher to fifth graders at a private boys’ school. He didn’t like his job very much anyway. It certainly wasn’t what he had set out to do with his life, so he sees this as an opportunity to turn a page; to begin a new chapter. He decides to simplify. He gets rid of most of his furniture, throws away