Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

Tinkers by Paul Harding


Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press

Length: 192 pages

About: memories of childhood in Maine

Style: 1st person

Where: US (Maine)

When: 2009 and 1930s/40s



Publisher’s synopsis:

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.



I will remain a set of impressions porous and open to combination with all of the other vitreous squares floating about in whoever else’s frames, because there is always the space left in reserve for the rest of their own time, and to my great-grandchildren, with more space than tiles, I will be no more than the smoky arrangement of a set of rumors, and to their great-grandchildren I will be no more than a tint of some obscure color, and to their great grandchildren nothing they ever know about.




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.

It remains to be seen where Paul Harding, surely a gifted writer, will go from here. But Tinkers is worth any reader's time. It's an astringent meditation on loss, family ties, and the presence of the past, which – as Faulkner once suggested – is never dead. It's never really past.

Jay Parini The Guardian September 2010



Not so good:

....but despite Harding’s deft hand, the novel came across as more of a series of confused (wonderfully written) vignettes than a cohesively compelling story. Ultimately, the whole was, for me, something less than the sum of its parts.

Mark Flanagan


About the author

Paul Harding (born 1967) is an American musician and author. Harding was a drummer for the band Cold Water Flat from approximately the founding in 1990 to 1997.Harding has a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has taught writing at Harvard University and the University of Iowa.



LAST          NEXT

<2009> -  <2011>















Page turner







Age guide: 12+










Novels by same author:


2013 Enon


















Adaptations: None to date










2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

Click here


Print Print | Sitemap Recommend this page Recommend this page
© Prize Winning Fiction