Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Anne Tyler has made a career of telling the often less-than glorious stories of people enduring life’s every day ups and downs. Having come of age in rural Raleigh, North Carolina, Tyler draws upon her background to fashion tales of the South that are quirky, humorous, and insightful. In Noah’s Compass we meet Liam Pennywell, a man of unexceptional talents, plain demeanor, modest means and curtailed ambition. At age 60, he’s been fired from his teaching job at a second-rate private boys’ school in Baltimore, a job below his academic training and expectations. He is a survivor of two failed marriages and father of three grown daughters. Liam is jolted into alarm after he’s attacked in his apartment and loses all memory of the experience. His search to recover those lost hours leads him into an exploration of his disappointing life and into a relationship with Eunice, a socially inept walking fashion disaster who is half his age. Liam is not always a very likeable fellow and it’s only after his youngest daughter comes to stay with him that he realizes how much of his life he was missing. Not one of Tyler’s best but a good character study if you stick with it.
A special slide presention by local nature photographer Eric Larson, based on his new book, Traprock Ridge, will be held on TUESDAY, May 4, 1:00 p.m. in the Manross Library auditorium on the lower level. This program is FREE but registration is required. Refreshments will be served immediately following the program.
During Mr. Larson’s presentation participants will the explore the geological wonder known as the Traprock Ridge located right here in Central CT. Learn about some of the history, legends, and myths of the area. Discover some of the Connecticut parks and recreation areas preserved for the enjoyment of all.
Copies of the book will also be available for purchase.
For those of you who like British settings you might enjoy Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. The author was born in England and spent her teenage years in a small village in East Sussex. She graduated from the London School of Economics but now makes her home in the Washington, D.C. area. The book reads like a Bristish sitcom, complete with a cast of characters both hilariously original and yet very familiar. The main character, Major Pettigrew (and please be sure to call him “Major”) leads a quiet life in a small English village valuing proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then he begins a friendship with Mrs. Ali, the Pakastani shopkeeper from the village, and his world gets turned upside down. One of my favorite comments from the Major comes when he is asked if he really understands what it means to be in love with an unsuitable woman and his response “Is there really any other kind?”
I actually managed to finish a book and start another this weekend despite the extremely beautiful weather! Where the God Of Love Hangs Out is a collection of stories by New York Times best-selling author Amy Bloom. I found I didn’t care for it as much as Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, winner of the 2009 Puitzer Prize. Bloom takes the reader to the center of people’s live, exploring the changes that love and loss create. The first set of stories is about William and Clare, two middle-aged friends married to others, who end up divorcing their spouses to be together. Another set of stories follows a biracial family for thirty years. Be prepared for some intense moments between characters.