Book - 2009
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Paul Harding's Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times -bestselling debut novel about memory, consciousness, and our place in the natural world.

An old man lies dying. Confined to bed in his living room, he sees the walls around him begin to collapse, the windows come loose from their sashes, and the ceiling plaster fall off in great chunks, showering him with a lifetime of debris: newspaper clippings, old photographs, wool jackets, rusty tools, and the mangled brass works of antique clocks. Soon, the clouds from the sky above plummet down on top of him, followed by the stars, till the black night covers him like a shroud. He is hallucinating, in death throes from cancer and kidney failure.

A methodical repairer of clocks, he is now finally released from the usual constraints of time and memory to rejoin his father, an epileptic, itinerant peddler, whom he had lost seven decades before. In his return to the wonder and pain of his impoverished childhood in the backwoods of Maine, he recovers a natural world that is at once indifferent to man and inseparable from him, menacing and awe inspiring.

Tinkers is about the legacy of consciousness and the porousness of identity from one generation to the next. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, it is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.

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.

Publisher: New York : Bellevue Literary Press, 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781934137123
Branch Call Number: F HAR


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Mar 27, 2018

First time author trying to be Faulkner or create a new literary genre and failing miserably. I had to review this for my book club, otherwise I would not have finished it.

Jan 23, 2017

The beauty of language and images elevate this book to an exceptional category. A memorable work.

Jan 13, 2016

This book is certainly good, but it's a long ways from great. The writing is poetic but the narrative doesn't always hold together. Character development lagged throughout the book as well, in my opinion. Perhaps the book should have been longer, and the character of Howard Crosby more fleshed out? Hard to say? I really wanted to love this book and I thought I would. But it really felt like a book just out of a Writer's Workshop. The writing was wonderful, but the story telling didn't rise to meet the prose.

Jun 05, 2015

Simple with simply gorgeous writing and more emotional charge than any number of lengthy adjective-ridden novels. One of the best books I've read in a long time.

Dec 20, 2014

Intriguing first effort, and one that found enormous critical success. For my taste, Harding tries a bit too hard to express the profundity of his subject. The narrative flows between the memories of a father and son, with the common themes of exile, mortality, and loss. His characters never quite manage to tell their tales without some forced narrative prodding that seems too obvious and awkward. Still, an admirable effort.

WVMLBookClubTitles Aug 23, 2014

On his death bed, his mind delirious, eighty-year-old George Crosby recalls his impoverished childhood in rural Maine where his father, Howard, an epileptic, abruptly left the family when he learned his wife intended to institutionalize him. In his mind, George reconnects with Howard and imagines the life of the father he barely knew yet deeply needs to understand. In language that is both lyrical and precise, Harding creates a vivid portrait of two men in early 20th century New England.

Mar 30, 2014

Interesting story but did not appreciate his style.

Sep 07, 2013

a poetic 3-generation saga in 191 pages.

Aug 29, 2013

Stream of consciousness writing, with very little structure to the written word. The story was interesting but the style was very offputting. I would not recommend this book.

Nov 02, 2012

Was Benjamin Franklin a New Englander? He is certainly the man to whom is attributed the saying, time is money, one of the activities that "drives" this novel.

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Ann Langone Feb 01, 2011

Family gathers around an old man dying---he is taking stock of his life and remembering his own father's life, as he comes in and out of consciousness. A clock theme runs through story as the old mans life ticks away. Beautifully written-- luscious, really--a poetic quality to it -- the art of a few well chosen words. Introspective and beautifully sad. Not for everyone. I loved this book.


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