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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2010

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 seven 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.

©2009 Paul Harding; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"An outstanding debut.... The real star is Harding's language, which dazzles whether he's describing the workings of clocks, sensory images of nature, the many engaging side characters who populate the book, or even a short passage on how to build a bird nest. This is an especially gorgeous example of novelistic craftsmanship." (Publishers Weekly)
"This compact, adamantine debut dips in and out of the consciousness of a New England patriarch named George Washington Crosby as he lies dying on a hospital bed in his living room.... 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.'" (The New Yorker)

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  • Overall
  • VTP
  • SF,CA
  • 05-02-09

"Poetical language" is pretentious.

I found "Tinkers" difficult to pay attention to for long. I don't think I have gotten more than a third of the way through its four and a half hours in three or four attempts. The language is flowery and over-blown.

I was also somewhat annoyed by the narrator's voice and delivery. Not my kind of book.

3 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • MARCIA
  • Lake Forest, CA, United States
  • 05-06-09

Didn't Quite "Get" It

I'm sorry, but I just didn't understand this book. There were some well written parts but overall it was a tedious listen. I pushed myself to listen to it all.

2 of 9 people found this review helpful