Hailed as "a masterpiece" (NPR), Tinkers, Paul Harding's Pulitzer Prizewinning debut, is a modern classic. The Dallas Morning News observed that "like Faulkner, Harding never shies away from describing what seems impossible to put into words." Here, in Enon, Harding follows a year in the life of Charlie Crosby as he tries to come to terms with a shattering personal tragedy. Grandson of George Crosby (the protagonist of Tinkers), Charlie inhabits the same dynamic landscape of New England, its seasons mirroring his turbulent emotional odyssey. Along the way, Charlie's encounters are brought to life by his wit, his insights into history, and his yearning to understand the big questions.
A stunning mosaic of human experience, Enon affirms Paul Harding as one of the most gifted and profound writers of his generation.
Most men in my family make widows of their wives and orphans of their children. I am the exception. My only child, Kate, was struck and killed by a car while riding her bicycle home from the beach one afternoon in September, a year ago. She was thirteen. My wife, Susan, and I separated soon afterward.
I was walking in the woods when Kate died. I'd asked her the day before if she wanted to pack a lunch and go to the Enon River to hike around and feed the birds and maybe rent a canoe. The birds were tame and ate seeds from people's hands. From the first time I'd taken her she'd been enchanted with the chickadees and titmice and nuthatches that pecked seeds from her palm, and when she was younger she'd treated feeding the birds as if they depended on it.
Kate said going to the sanctuary sounded great, but she and her friend Carrie Lewis had made plans to go to the beach, and could she go if she was super careful.
"Especially around the lake, and the shore...
While the construct of Enon and the progression of the plot feel artificial in many places, once Harding finds his way into his long, introspective, almost mythical passages, his writing – particularly about death – is gorgeous. He has a unique talent for blurring the lines between the present and the past without slipping into the world of the bizarre, and Charlie’s sad, imaginative, wandering mind is something to savor.
(Reviewed by Elena Spagnolie).
Full Review (1109 words).
In Enon (as in his 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Tinkers), Paul Harding constructs and describes the fictional New England town of Enon, complete with a chronicling of its multi-generational history, descriptions of its homes, woods and native plants, and stories of those buried in its cemetery.
Generally speaking, the setting of a story helps locate the culture, mindset, and mood of a book; it guides readers' emotions, allows them to form expectations for characters' behaviors, identifies whether they fit in, and places them in time and space. When writers create fictional settings whether made-up towns in familiar places, or fantastical worlds we never dreamed possible they have the ability to manipulate ...
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