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Enon by Paul Harding
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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Did not enjoy this book at all. What "normal" person doesn't contact the father of her child when the child dies? And the parents are MARRIED??? This was the most preposterous beginning. And it only got worse. Would never have finished this book if I hadn't received it free. When the narrator descends into drug and alcohol abuse it's all you can do to turn the pages. . .
  phacht | Mar 4, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I found this book difficult. The subject matter is hard, but the lack of humanity was the hardest part. A man is in the small town he grows up in and his daughter is killed in a terrible accident. His wife, a teacher, leaves and gives up trying to contact him when he unplugs his cell phone. He falls apart with no one in the town intervening, even when he has become addicted to drugs. Harding's writing is poetic while I'm reading it, but I forget it, maybe because the characters don't seem real to me. I read Tinkers but I couldn't tell you 1 thing about it a year later. ( )
  strandbooks | Mar 1, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
With little action, but much insight into human nature, Enon follows Charlie, the primary character, as he reacts to a life-changing tragedy. Harding succeeded in making me feel totally immersed in the town of Enon and into Charlie's struggles, but at the same time, he showed me just how self-centered a reader I am. I had trouble relating to Charlie and his decisions. My lack of interest coupled with the dense prose made this a rather slow read. When I finally made it to the end, I found a beautiful and moving resolution and was happy to see some character development had occurred. ( )
  jessicamhill | Feb 9, 2014 |
As I set out to write about this book, I fear that I don't have the time or brain cells currently to really do this five-star book justice, but it must be done, hopefully you'll be able to pull some useful things from it.

I loved Harding's [Tinkers] for so many reasons. I know many were less enthralled. Most were put off by its densely lyrical prose style which I though worked wonderfully for a story about time (and clocks, with their mechanics and regular ticking), and such a sense of place. Enon, a story of grief, not as densely lyrical as Tinkers is, but still beautifully written, and a tad longer than his previous book at 238 pages.

Enon tells us the story of Charlie Crosby (grandson of the Tinkers character) and his journey into grief after the death of his beloved 13-year-old daughter and only child. He and his wife separate soon after. Charlie immerses himself in his memories, both of his daughter and his growing up in the town of Enon. Enon (a fictional town on the north shore of Massachusetts, north of Boston, in the area where Harding grew up), I think, is another very vivid character in the story.

Charlie's memories are mostly affectionate ones, but as he swims in his river of grief, he begins to drown, and his memories get mixed in with his drug-induced dreams. This is, yes, a sad, reflective story, but not a morose or depressing one. Ultimately, it is a powerful, uplifting story about the resilience of the human spirit. Charlie's journey, his wrestling with grief, is like an epic story where the hero must descend to some level of Hades before returning to the land of the living—and we all go with him. ( )
1 vote avaland | Feb 1, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
There is some beautiful nature writing in Enon, Paul Harding's follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tinkers, but the story of Charlie Crosby's grief is marred by mawkishness and tinny dialogue. One wants to like the book; Charlie is a sympathetic character and Harding, who seems to be trying hard to write something serious here, a sympathetic author. But his efforts are not enough, everything feels artificial save the nature descriptions, while scenes between humans (and Charlie's memories of his dead daughter) seem more appropriate for a Lifetime movie than for literary fiction. ( )
  sapporo | Jan 7, 2014 |
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Powerful, brilliantly written, and deeply moving Paul Harding has, in Enon, written a worthy successor to Tinkers, a debut which John Freeman on NPR called "a masterpiece." Drawn always to the rich landscape of his character's inner lives, here, through the first person narrative of Charlie Crosby (grandson to George Crosby of Tinkers), Harding creates a devastating portrait of a father trying desperately to come to terms with family loss.
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A grieving Charlie Crosby (grandson of Tinkers protagonist George Washington Crosby) attempts to come to terms with the death of his daughter, Kate, and the subsequent dissolution of his marriage.

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