Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. 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 7 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 the next. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, it is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.
Tinkers is a skillfully written novel. It succeeds in demonstrating that our daily, microcosmic lives contain vastness and fantasy. This book offers its reader a meditation on the private geography of the mind and, through Harding's characters, a glimpse of our own efforts to piece together the broken and mismatched elements of human relationships and existence. (Reviewed by Stacey Brownlie).
Hartford Courant - Carole Goldberg
Paul Harding's Tinkers defies expectations and proves to be one of 2009's most intriguing debuts.
The New Yorker
In Harding’s skillful evocation, Crosby’s life, seen from its final moments, becomes a mosaic of memories, "showing him a different self every time he tried to make an assessment."
Los Angeles Times - Susan Salter Reynolds
Every so often a writer describes something so well ... that you can smell it or feel it or sense it in the room. The writing does what all those other art forms do -- evoke the essence of the thing.
In this astonishing novel, Paul Harding creates a New England childhood, beginning with the landscape. And he does this, miracle of miracles, through the mind of another human being -- not himself, someone else.
Starred Review. [An] outstanding debut...This is an especially gorgeous example of novelistic craftsmanship.
[A] beautifully written study of father-son relationships and the nature of time.
Starred Review. Writing with breathtaking lyricism and tenderness, Harding has created a rare and beautiful novel.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Emma Tinkers by Paul Harding Tinkers, by Paul Harding, is a very well written book, but at the same time very difficult for me to follow. I think that the book had great potential with a great plot, but it was not constructed in a very well manner. When I was reading summaries... Read More
Rated of 5
by Harvey Fenigsohn Paul Harding's Tinkers The opening sentence of Tinkers, Paul Harding's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel reveals the novelist's ingenious talent. Harding tightly compresses a spring which, when released, propels his entire narrative. The compressed spring is the simple... Read More
Rated of 5
by Helen Tinkers I found this book well written but extremely boring and very difficult to get through. It's not difficult for me to understand that this author had trouble getting this published.
Rated of 5
by Lois-ellin Datta Channeling Faulkner and Doing It Well Indeed There's much to love about "Tinkers," most of which has been noted and with which I agree. What struck me is how much Tinkers seems to be channeling Faulkner. The linguistic precision, yes of course. The sentence-paragraphs. The... Read More
Rated of 5
by Bill Boley Workshop Work Though Harding offers some effective stream of consciousness passages, his writing too often creates an excruciatingly slow read and many overwrought, writer's workshopish passages. Giving "Tinkers" a 4 is a push. At least it's short.
Rated of 5
by Dulal Al Monsur Outer Geography and Inner Journey Paul Harding's debut novel set in New England presents the outer realm and inner corner of both the individual and the universal man very excellently.
Protagonist George Crosby's love for repairing clocks is a prominent theme in
Tinkers, which includes references to a fictional 1783 book called The
Horology encompasses both the science of measuring time and the art of
making time pieces. Thus, horologists include watchmakers, clockmakers,
scholars, scientists and hobbyists. Humans have long been concerned with
recording the passage of time - from Stonehenge
calendar stones to sundials and atomic clocks*, civilizations have sought
the most precise way to record time. Today, we can pull up the
official United States time
with just a few keystrokes!
There are numerous museums and libraries around the world devoted to horology
and time-keeping instruments. One such is the
and Clock Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania which features regular exhibits,
a library of horology materials and is home to the National Association of Watch
and Clock Collectors (NAWCC). Pennsylvania is also home to...
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...