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Tinkers by Paul Harding
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Tinkers (edition 2009)

by Paul Harding

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4921792,447 (3.44)310
Member:sturlington
Title:Tinkers
Authors:Paul Harding
Info:Bellevue Literary Press (2009), trade paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:2000s, New England, Pulitzer Prize, ALA, read in 2011

Work details

Tinkers by Paul Harding

  1. 20
    Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky by David Connerley Nahm (HeathMochaFrost)
    HeathMochaFrost: I just finished Ancient Oceans, and the writing kept reminding me of Tinkers. The characters, location, situations, all of these are different, but many readers who enjoyed the writing style of Tinkers might like this one as well. It's from a small press so it's harder to find, but it's certainly worth it.… (more)
  2. 11
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Anonymous user, DetailMuse)
  3. 11
    The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (Miels)
    Miels: Similar prose style and similar emphasis on social isolation.
  4. 00
    Evening by Susan Minot (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Both begin with a dying protagonist who clings to a memory of the past. In Minot's book, it has to do with an affair that may have been her true love.
  5. 00
    The Driftless Area by Tom Drury (speakfreelynow)
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» See also 310 mentions

English (173)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  English (179)
Showing 1-5 of 173 (next | show all)
This book is going on the "favorites" shelf. By way of plot, we see George, a dying old man in the last week or so of his life, in and out of semi-consciousness, remembering. He remembers his childhood, and his father, Howard, and from then we transition into Howard's life as a young man as well. The book has a lot to say about the transitory nature of life, and the language that the author uses is magnificent. My favorite passage is below:

"What of miniature boats constructed of birch bark and fallen leaves, launched onto cold water clear as air? How many fleets were pushed out toward the middles of ponds or sent down autumn brooks, holding treasures of acorns, or black feathers, or a puzzled mantis? Let those grassy crafts be listed alongside the iron hulls that cleave the sea, for they are all improvisations built from the daydreams of men, and all will perish, whether from ocean siege or October breeze."

I can't really articulate how much I enjoyed this book. Unlike a lot of books I've read recently, this one doesn't try to make into a 600-page tome what it could have said in 100 pages. At 190 pages (and it's a small book, with generous margins), I read this in a few days. The only thing that slows down the reading is how the words encourage you to frequently pause to appreciate what the author is saying.

**This book was sent as a bonus from Bellevue Literary Press along with another book I won in an ARC giveaway in exchange for an unbiased review.** ( )
  MisterMelon | Dec 3, 2016 |
Tinkers by Paul Harding

This is the story of George Washington Crosby an old man who is dying. As he lay dying his mind travels back to his youth, young adult and adult life. He remembers the struggles growing up, and how he got where he is today. Told with rich descriptive details, I was really transported into George's world. Tinkers is a thought provoking emotional memorable read. I highly recommend to all.

I received this book from LibrayThing in exchange for an honest review ( )
  SheriAWilkinson | Nov 28, 2016 |
The book was a bit more poetic in style than I like. I don't often "get" poetry. I did enjoy the narrative of the lives of George and Howard for the most part, but would find myself glossing over the parts in between... ( )
  sbluerock | Nov 5, 2016 |
3 stars ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
This is proof positive that just because a novel has won the Pulitzer Prize doesn't make it a compelling read. It covers the lives and deaths of a father and son (and a little about the grandfather) in the first half of the 20th century. There are descriptive passages of nature, with ethereal, ghostly touches. It's a short read, but if you find yourself wanting to give up about half-way through, keep reading for a few more pages--it gets better. Unless you're in a college English class and have to write a paper, skip this one. ( )
1 vote lansum | Jun 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 173 (next | show all)
"There are few perfect debut American novels. Walter Percy's The Moviegoer and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird come to mind. So does Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. To this list ought to be added Paul Harding's devastating first book, Tinkers, the story of a dying man drifting back in time to his hardscrabble New England childhood, growing up the son of his clock-making father. Harding has written a masterpiece around the truism that all of us, even surrounded by family, die alone."
 
The occasional overwriting, the looping narrative, and the almost defiant lack of plot made this a hard book to sell to publishers. An array of editors at major houses rejected the novel, no doubt afraid it would never sell. It apparently sat for several years in the writer's desk. Then an obscure house, the Bellevue Literary Press, published it to such little fanfare that the New York Times (like most papers) ignored it completely. Then, miracle of miracles, it won the Pulitzer.
added by _eskarina | editThe Guardian, Jay Parini (Sep 25, 2010)
 
Among the many triumphs of this novel, Harding enables a reader to look at the world differently, without the things that normally encumber experience. Tinkers is a considerable achievement.
added by _eskarina | editThe Telegraph, Peter Scott (Aug 18, 2010)
 
Its prose is complex, sometimes convoluted, but at its best suffused with brilliantly realised imagery and a reminder of how rich the written language can still be.
 
"In Paul Harding's stunning first novel, we find what readers, writers and reviewers live for: a new way of seeing, in a story told as a series of ruminative images, like a fanned card deck."
 
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Series (with order)
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Original title
Alternative titles
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People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Meg, Samuel, and Benjamin
First words
George Washington Crosby began to hallucinate eight days before he died.
Quotations
Crosby, how are you going to be one of my twelve?
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
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.

Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and PEN / Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers Award, Tinkers was also named a 2010 American Library Association Notable Book and shortlisted for the American Booksellers Association’s Best Book of the Year Award.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 193413712X, Paperback)

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.

Pulitzer Prize, American Library Association Notable Book, PEN / Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers Award

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

“There are few perfect debut American novels. Walter Percy’s The Moviegoer and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird come to mind. So does Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. To this list ought to be added Paul Harding’s devastating first book, Tinkers. . . . Harding has written a masterpiece.” —John Freeman, National Public Radio

“Tinkers is truly remarkable. It achieves and sustains a unique fusion of language and perception. Its fine touch plays over the textured richnesses of very modest lives, evoking again and again a frisson of deep recognition, a sense of primal encounter with the brilliant, elusive world of the senses. It confers on the reader the best privilege fiction can afford, the illusion of ghostly proximity to other human souls.” —Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Home, Gilead, and Housekeeping

“[Tinkers is] a novel that you’ll want to savor. . . . I found reading it to be an incredibly moving experience.” —Nancy Pearl

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:10 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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