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Tinkers by Paul Harding
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Tinkers (edition 2009)

by Paul Harding (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,9332103,084 (3.48)348
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.
Member:ELISE846
Title:Tinkers
Authors:Paul Harding (Author)
Info:Bellevue Literary Press (2009), 191 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

Tinkers by Paul Harding

  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 348 mentions

English (205)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (211)
Showing 1-5 of 205 (next | show all)
Paul Harding writes a sensitive and prosaic account of the heart, the human condition, the irreducibility of life's circumstances and the ways in which we are all shaped. It is about much more than a man's, often humorous, memories of life during his last days or of his father's kindness and epileptic seizures which makes him a poor candidate for being a successful traveling salesman. Harding has a unique ability to delve into the gap that divides the material world from the mind's conception of it thereby exploring the mystery and the magic of being alive. ( )
  LoriRous | Jan 4, 2020 |
This read like a book that I had to read in high school and be impressed by the writing techniques. However, now that I can choose books I like, I much prefer books where I understand what is happening. I don't like books where the story seems to weave back and forth in time and where the writing is so poetic. So basically I did not enjoy it. I would not reread it, nor would I recommend it. ( )
  KamGeb | Oct 6, 2019 |
Interesting and thought-provoking ( )
  John_Danenbarger | Sep 2, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The story of George in his last days, remembering his father and his memories of his father. A telling hree generations of men and fathers. Good story though slow at times. ( )
  chris227 | Jun 8, 2019 |
Beautiful story of New England father/son, with a somber tone of death and reflection in life. Beautiful Pulitzer Prize winning book about a two generations of a New England family, and the madness and epilepsy that does the fathers in. Beautiful, poetic, a lot of beautiful language and rumination.
  JoshSapan | May 29, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 205 (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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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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Disambiguation notice
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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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