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Tinkers

by Paul Harding

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1002163,217 (3.46)355
On his deathbed, surrounded by his family, George Washington Crosby's thoughts drift back to his childhood and the father who abandoned him when he was twelve.
  1. 10
    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. 00
    The Driftless Area by Tom Drury (speakfreelynow)
  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
    Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (sturlington)
    sturlington: Two Pulitzer Prize winners set in Maine
  6. 01
    The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (Miels)
    Miels: Similar prose style and similar emphasis on social isolation.
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» See also 355 mentions

English (211)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (217)
Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
Depressingly profound and/but a chore to get through. Not as bad as Ethan Frome but close. ( )
  froxgirl | Apr 7, 2021 |
"My mother opened the outside door and the light came in and carved every object in the kitchen into an ancient relic."

Around the year in 52 books challenge notes:
#52. A book related to time ( )
  Linda_Louise | Jan 20, 2021 |
Hard to follow; poetic ( )
  elifra | Nov 9, 2020 |
Decent story but a bit confusing at times.
And then it just ends. ( )
  LoriFox | Oct 24, 2020 |
A while ago I decided to read books which have recently won important literary awards, hoping it'd introduce me to some interesting contemporary authors. So far they've all been awful.

This book in particular felt very pretentious - like its main purpose was to have as much literary merit as possible. There's no real plot, the narrative is confusing and all over the place, the characters are boring and the writing is as flowery as they come. Tinkers has been praised for its "poetic" prose and unconvential writing style, and while I understand some might find Harding's writing intellectual, it mostly comes across as an attempt to impress the reader. Were the long-winded descriptions of nature necessary? What did the excerpts from a (fictional?) Horologist book add to the story, besides interrupting the flow of the book? Why was there such little punctuation?

This book requires a lot of concentration, despite its density, and I was hoping it'd be worth the effort, but it wasn't. Unless you're looking for a book to put you to sleep, this isn't worth reading. ( )
  frtyfour | Jun 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 211 (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."
 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Hardingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Demarty, PierreTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rummel, ChristianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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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?
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Disambiguation notice
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

On his deathbed, surrounded by his family, George Washington Crosby's thoughts drift back to his childhood and the father who abandoned him when he was twelve.

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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.
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