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Tinkers

by Paul Harding

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,6232273,428 (3.47)398
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. 31
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Anonymous user, DetailMuse)
  2. 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)
  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. 11
    The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (Miels)
    Miels: Similar prose style and similar emphasis on social isolation.
  6. 00
    Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (sturlington)
    sturlington: Two Pulitzer Prize winners set in Maine
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» See also 398 mentions

English (222)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (228)
Showing 1-5 of 222 (next | show all)
Couldn't even get through chapter one ....never finished. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
I have to say Paul Harding's "Tinkers" left me feeling unmoved and dissatisfied - like so many other books this year...

The novel revolves around an old man named George who is dying from cancer, and the narrative follows his thoughts and memories as he grapples with his mortality. The language used by the author is often ornate and overwrought, which, coupled with the slow pacing of the story, made for a tedious reading experience.

The characters lack depth and development, with George being the only character with any discernible personality traits, and even those are underwhelming. The supporting cast feels two-dimensional, failing to contribute anything meaningful to the narrative.

The themes of loss, mortality, and the passing of time are not uncommon in literature, but Harding's handling of them is clichéd and trite. Rather than telling a compelling story, the author seems more concerned with showcasing his literary prowess.

In conclusion, "Tinkers" is not a book that I would recommend to others. While the themes it explores are important, the execution leaves much to be desired.

Two out of five stars.

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Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam ( )
  philantrop | Dec 16, 2023 |
In this deluxe tenth anniversary edition, Marilynne Robinson introduces the beautiful novel Tinkers, which begins with an old man who 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.

The story behind this New York Times bestselling debut novel―the first independently published Pulitzer Prize winner since A Confederacy of Dunces received the award nearly thirty years before―is as extraordinary as the elegant prose within it. Inspired by his family’s history, Paul Harding began writing Tinkers when his rock band broke up. Following numerous rejections from large publishers, Harding was about to shelve the manuscript when Bellevue Literary Press offered a contract. After being accepted by BLP, but before it was even published, the novel developed a following among independent booksellers from coast to coast. Readers and critics soon fell in love, and it went on to receive the Pulitzer Prize, prompting the New York Times to declare the novel’s remarkable success “the most dramatic literary Cinderella story of recent memory.”

That story is still being written as readers across the country continue to discover this modern classic, which has now sold over half a million copies, proving once again that great literature has a thriving and passionate audience.

Paul Harding is the author of two novels about multiple generations of a New England family: Enon and the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tinkers. He teaches at Stony Brook Southampton.
Amazon review ( )
  lmbigens | Oct 28, 2023 |
I read my rain-soaked copy after drying each page in the sun. I recommend that everyone read it in this manner. ( )
  Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 222 (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
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?
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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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Paul Harding's book Tinkers: 10th Anniversary Edition was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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