Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
Length: 192 pages
About: memories of childhood in Maine
Style: 1st person
Where: US (Maine)
When: 2009 and 1930s/40s
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.com
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.