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Tinkers

Harding, Paul

(Book - 2009)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Tinkers
Print
Baker & Taylor
On his deathbed, surrounded by his family, George Washington Crosby's throughts drift back to his childhood and the father who abandoned him when he was twelve.

Perseus Publishing
Pulitzer Prize Winner and New York Times Bestseller

“There are few perfect debut American novels. . . . To this list ought to be added Paul Harding’s devastating first book, Tinkers. . . . Harding has written a masterpiece.” —NPR

“In Paul Harding’s stunning first novel, we find what readers, writers and reviewers live for.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Tinkers is truly remarkable.” —Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Home, Gilead, and Housekeeping

An old man lies dying. Propped up in his living room and surrounded by his children and grandchildren, George Washington Crosby drifts in and out of consciousness, back to the wonder and pain of his impoverished childhood in Maine. As the clock repairer’s time winds down, his memories intertwine with those of his father, an epileptic, itinerant peddler and his grandfather, a Methodist preacher beset by madness. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, Tinkers is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, illness, faith, and the fierce beauty of nature.

Paul Harding is the author of two novels about multiple generations of a New England family: the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tinkers and Enon. He has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Harvard University, and Grinnell College. He now lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times-bestselling debut novel about memory, consciousness, and man’s place in the natural world.


Blackwell North Amer
An old man lies dying. As time collapses into memory, he travels deep into his past where he is reunited with his father and relives the wonder and pain of his impoverished New England youth. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, Tinkers is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.

Publisher: New York : Bellevue Literary Press, 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 193413712X
9781934137123
Characteristics: 191 p. ; 18 cm

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Aug 23, 2014
  • WVMLBookClubTitles rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

On his death bed, his mind delirious, eighty-year-old George Crosby recalls his impoverished childhood in rural Maine where his father, Howard, an epileptic, abruptly left the family when he learned his wife intended to institutionalize him. In his mind, George reconnects with Howard and imagines the life of the father he barely knew yet deeply needs to understand. In language that is both lyrical and precise, Harding creates a vivid portrait of two men in early 20th century New England.

Interesting story but did not appreciate his style.

Sep 07, 2013
  • ms_mustard rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

a poetic 3-generation saga in 191 pages.

Aug 29, 2013
  • BryanReinecke rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Stream of consciousness writing, with very little structure to the written word. The story was interesting but the style was very offputting. I would not recommend this book.

Dec 17, 2012
  • alangone rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Family gathers around an old man dying---he is taking stock of his life and remembering his own father's life, as he comes in and out of consciousness. A clock theme runs through story as the old mans life ticks away. Beautifully written-- luscious, really--a poetic quality to it -- the art of a few well chosen words. Introspective and beautifully sad. Not for everyone. I loved this book.

Dec 17, 2012
  • beverlywnace rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a truly beautiful book. At times the language takes one's breath away. What an achievement for Paul Harding's first novel.

Was Benjamin Franklin a New Englander? He is certainly the man to whom is attributed the saying, time is money, one of the activities that "drives" this novel.

Aug 03, 2012
  • kwsmith rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

While on his death-bed, George Washington Crosby recalls the lives of three unusual tinkers: himself, his father, and his grandfather. George's father, an impoverished epileptic peddler has a very unusual relationship with nature. Sadly, there's not much of a story in this small pulitizer prize winner. Instead, Tinkers is a poetic arrangement of vignettes about nature, time, memory, and the transformative process of death.

Mar 10, 2011
  • lilwordworm rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

It is about a man dying. Honestly that is it. It is pages and pages of description of his sloooow death. I thought I might suffer the same fate while reading it.

Nov 30, 2010
  • lightbytheway rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Tinkers
by Paul Harding

tinker |ˈti ng kər|
noun
1 (esp. in former times) a person who travels from place to place mending metal utensils as a way of making a living.
• a person who makes minor mechanical repairs, esp. on a variety of appliances and apparatuses, usually for a living.
• Brit., chiefly derogatory a gypsy or other person living in an itinerant community.
2 an act of attempting to repair something.

This is Paul Harding's first novel and the winner of the Pulitzer prize.
George Washington Crosby repairs clocks. He is over 70 and is surrounded by his family at home dying of cancer and hallucinating-- lost between reality, memories and dreams. While the clock ticks, he meets in his limbo state his father Howard, a tinker with epilepsy. We see some events of his family life when George was one of the four children. We also get glimpses of his grandfather, a church minister that developed Alzheimer's disease, with some scenes of Howard as a child himself. With astounding beauty Harding describes and gives us snippets of his family life and the New England countryside, while interposing notes of a clock repair manual George had owned, in order to put together a story of life, illness and death. The narrative doesn't follow a linear path and might be hard to follow at times.
This novel is a short and ambitious with abundant lyrical language, lacking a more developed plot to achieve its perfect balance. The beauty of the language, almost musical, is deserving of high recognition and does move us to question our own mortality and reflect on our own families and lives.

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Dec 17, 2012
  • alangone rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Family gathers around an old man dying---he is taking stock of his life and remembering his own father's life, as he comes in and out of consciousness. A clock theme runs through story as the old mans life ticks away. Beautifully written-- luscious, really--a poetic quality to it -- the art of a few well chosen words. Introspective and beautifully sad. Not for everyone. I loved this book.

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