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.
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).
San Francisco Chronicle Enon is Joan Didion’s Blue Nights on major meds. . . . Time was the subject of Tinkers as grief is the subject of Enon. The two are related, like father and sons. Read Enon to live longer in the harsh, gorgeous atmosphere that Paul Harding has created
The New Yorker
An extraordinary follow-up to the author’s Pulitzer Prize–winning debut . . . Harding’s subject is consciousness rooted in a contemporary moment but bound to a Puritan past. His prose is steeped in a visionary, transcendentalist tradition that echoes Blake, Rilke, Emerson, and Thoreau, and makes for a darkly intoxicating read.
New York Daily News
Paul Harding’s excellent second novel . . . is a lovely book about grief, the ways in which we punish ourselves for feeling it, and, ultimately, how we rebuild our lives even when they seem unsalvageable.
The Wall Street Journal
Without blurring the sharply lucid nightmares and recollections, Mr. Harding pushes Charlie’s madness to a crisis point of destruction or renewal. The journey to the depths of his grief is unforgettably stark and sad. But that sadness, shaped by a gifted writer’s caressing attention, can also bring about moments of what Charlie calls ‘brokenhearted joy.’
The Chicago Tribune
Harding conveys the common but powerful bond of parental love with devastating accuracy. . . . Enon confirms what the Pulitzer jury decided: Paul Harding—no longer a ‘find’—is a major voice in American fiction.
Starred Review. [Enon is] an elegiac portrait of a severed family and the town of Enon itself, and Harding again proves himself a contemporary master and one of our most important writers
Starred Review. Beautifully turned: Harding has defogged his style a bit and gained a stronger emotional impact from it.
Starred Review. Harding's mythic sensibility, soaring empathy for his devastated yet life-loving protagonist, comedic embrace of the absurd, and exquisite receptivity to the beauty and treachery of the living world make for one astonishingly daring, gripping, and darkly resplendent novel of all-out grief and crawling-from-the-ruins survival.
Starred Review. With crisp, descriptive language, Harding continues where his previous novel left off, exploring the complexity of family and mortality."
The Financial Times
Harding is an extraordinary writer, for the intoxicating power of his prose, the range of his imagination, and above all for the redemptive humanity of his vision. With painstaking brilliance, Enon charts one man’s attempt to salvage meaning from meaningless tragedy, to endure the ubiquitous presence of a loved one’s absence. A superb account of the banality and uniqueness of bereavement, it more than earns its place alongside such non-fictional classics as Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and CS Lewis’s A Grief Observed. That Enon is a work of fiction that feels authentic as memoir makes it all the more astonishing.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Kathy Sad, sad story What a sad, sad book. Having lost a much older child in a tragic accident, I could identify with Charlie’s loss, pain, and lack of will to continue living. However, unlike Charlie, I had the love and support of my husband, other children, family,... Read More
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 everything around them and dive deep into their creative wells, which makes for some great storytelling.
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...