But this time the magic didn't work for me, and I can't decide if it's Tyler who's lost the excitement of invention and is coasting along on auto pilot, or I who've lost my taste for her work because my mother's gone and I can no longer share it with her. Or because I'm getting old and grumpy.
Tyler's prose is just as faultless as ever, so it's not that. The story's interesting enough too, I suppose. Liam Pennywell, aged 60, has just lost his teaching job, and downsized into a small characterless apartment. On his first night in the apartment he's attacked by an intruder and, though he recovers completely, Liam can't remember the attack. In his quest to recall what happened to him that night Liam befriends an eccentric young woman and along the way realises that he can barely remember much of any of his life - that he's barely been present in it.
I don't think I really believed in Liam - or maybe I didn't care about him. Somehow, aged 60, he's managed to acquire (and lose) two wives, three daughters (one of whom is still a teenager) and two teaching jobs (or is it three?) without any of it leaving much of a mark on him at all. And I didn't believe in Liam's sexless 'love affair' with Eunice either.
He has a grandson too with whom he feels no connection. The title of the book comes from a story in the grandson's bible story colouring book. Noah, it seems, didn't need a compass because he wasn't going anywhere. He was - like our Liam - simply trying to stay afloat.
It might just be me, but although I could appreciate Tyler's mastery of craft, mostly what I felt while I was reading Noah's Compass was disappointment. The novel felt too cute to me, too self conscious. 'Oh no, don't go there,' I'd tell myself while I was reading it. But each time she did.