Tinkers

by Paul Harding

Paperback, 2009

Status

Available

Genres

Publication

New York : Bellevue Literary Press, 2009.

Description

On his deathbed, surrounded by his family, George Washington Crosby's thoughts drift back to his childhood and the father who abandoned him when he was twelve.

Media reviews

"There are few perfect debut American novels. Walter Percy's The Moviegoer and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird come to mind. So does Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. To this list ought to be added Paul Harding's devastating first book, Tinkers, the story of a dying man drifting back in time to his hardscrabble New England childhood, growing up the son of his clock-making father. Harding has written a masterpiece around the truism that all of us, even surrounded by family, die alone."
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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.
Among the many triumphs of this novel, Harding enables a reader to look at the world differently, without the things that normally encumber experience. Tinkers is a considerable achievement.
Its prose is complex, sometimes convoluted, but at its best suffused with brilliantly realised imagery and a reminder of how rich the written language can still be.
"In Paul Harding's stunning first novel, we find what readers, writers and reviewers live for: a new way of seeing, in a story told as a series of ruminative images, like a fanned card deck."
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.”
Tinkers is a novel rich in close observation, short in dialogue and event. While normally this would be a cloying combination, the sharp richness of Harding's language and the precision of his descriptions makes the novel both transfixing and compelling.

User reviews

LibraryThing member brenzi
Sometimes, all it takes for me to discover a good book is for it to win a prize. Any prize will do, as I’m addicted to the prize winners, but when it’s the Pulitzer Prize there aren’t many that I haven’t read. Tinkers, the 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner did not disappoint. It is a nostalgic tale of a dying man’s remembrance of his father.

George Crosby is near death and surrounded by family members as he drifts in and out of consciousness. The author weaves a sad, mournful story moving back and forth in time, revealing George’s life and the life of his father, Howard Aaron Crosby. We learn everything through George’s thoughts and through a notebook that George kept, read by his grandson.

Howard Crosby was a tinker or mender. He traveled with a horse drawn wagon through rural New England selling odds and ends, as the author explains on page 11:

“His father drove a wagon for a living. It was a wooden wagon. It was a chest of drawers mounted on two axles and wooden spoked wheels. There were dozens of drawers, each fitted with a recessed brass ring, pulled open with a hooked forefinger, that contained brushes and wood oil, tooth powder and nylon stockings, shaving soap and straight-edge razors. There were drawers with shoe shine and boot strings, broom handles and mop heads. There was a secret drawer where he kept four bottles of gin. Mostly back roads were his route, dirt tracks that ran into the deep woods to hidden clearings where a log cabin sat among sawdust and tree stumps and a woman in a plain dress and hair pulled back so tight that she looked as if she were smiling (which she was not) stood in a crooked doorway with a cocked squirrel gun.”

Howard suffered from an aggressive form of epilepsy, which would overcome him with electric force. When George is twelve, his father's epilepsy forces him to make a decision that affects the family for the rest of their lives.

George himself was a tinker of sorts too. He built the house he lived in from the ground up and he did love tinkering with old clocks. He loved the precision of clockworks and at the end, is surrounded by many of the antique clocks that he has restored. In his last hours he notices that none of the clocks have been re-wound, just another symptom of the chaos that surrounds him now, not at all the precision he knows and loves.

The story is filled with sad remembrances, eccentric characters, wonderful vignettes and oh, yes, the most luscious prose you’ll find anywhere. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member TheTwoDs
I've often wondered what a perfect piece of descriptive writing would feel like. I need wonder no more. Paul Harding's Tinkers uses such precisely honed prose to describe the incredible beauty most of us miss in the day to day goings on of the world that I found myself re-reading passages to be transfixed by the aesthetics. Touching on themes of dying, grief, forgiveness, illness and family, the book is a small, but powerful, meditation on the small things that make life worth living. At times reading like a prose poem, Harding wields the English language like a master swordsman, leaving the reader in awe, almost unable to believe that someone could describe something so clearly; Nabokov would be most proud. The book is that rare treat which describes such minute details so perfectly, in such a precise setting, yet manages to speak to us all. Consider this passage, reminiscing of building and sailing toy boats:

"What of miniature boats constructed of birch bark and fallen leaves, launched onto cold water clear as air? How many fleets were pushed out toward the middles of ponds or sent down autumn brooks holding treasures of acorns, or black feathers, or a puzzled mantis? Let those grassy crafts be listed alongside the iron hulls that cleave the sea, for they are all improvisations built from the daydreams of men, and all will perish, whether from ocean siege or October breeze." (pp. 77-78)

Rare is the book which can make a man weep, but Tinkers is that powerful. It is so universal it speaks to everyone, yet I know it is meant for me. I look forward to future works from Mr. Harding.
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LibraryThing member ironinklings
This remarkable first novel is a testament to the power of observation. Tinkers is an examination of the relationships between fathers and sons. George Washington Crosby, who repairs clocks for a living, is on his deathbed. As his life begins slowing down just as his clocks begin to lose time and eventually stop, Crosby returns to his childhood. Memories of his father, a traveling salesman and epileptic, begin to fill his mind. Crosby’s father may not have been the most lucrative man, but he had an amazing sense of the world around him and his relationship to nature is almost ecstatic. The reader can work through the layers of meaning throughout the book just as George Washington Crosby works through the delicate workings of his clocks. While Harding’s novel is gorgeously written, his poignant attempts at understanding characters that are hard to pin down makes this novel a true work of art.… (more)
LibraryThing member detailmuse
Tinkers is an eight-day deathwatch as George Crosby succumbs to kidney cancer.

He’s surrounded by living relatives -- his sister, wife and children; but this novel is incredibly evocative of men, and I was touched by the passages where his grandsons keep watch. And then the special interest comes from the narrative also being inhabited by dead relatives -- George’s father (a horse-and-cart era rural peddler with severe epilepsy) and grandfather (a Methodist preacher) -- and it’s unclear where they are ... in George’s mind? in an omniscient narrator? in a diary a grandson reads?

The details are quietly and purposefully chosen, for example, that George was a clock repairman and the story covers eight days -- the time it takes a traditional clock’s mainspring to wind down. And the language is wonderful, be it the experience of a seizure or this description of a clock:

...a clock supposedly seen in eastern Bohemia that had the likeness of a great oak tree wrought in iron and brass around its dial. As the seasons of its homeland changed, the branches of the tree turned a thousand tiny copper leaves, each threaded on a hair-thin spindle, from enameled green to metallic red. Then, by astounding mechanisms within the case {…} the branches released the leaves to spiral down their threads and strew themselves about the lower part of the clock-face.

I'll definitely re-read; there’s so much in this short novel still to discover and understand.
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LibraryThing member agnesmack
Tinkers was a gift from my mother for my half birthday and, it turns out, a gift from Mr. Harding as well.

The novel begins: “George Washington Crosby began to hallucinate eight days before he died.” While the story is told from the viewpoint of George on his deathbed, it weaves in and out of time, from the story of his epileptic father, whose seizures are proceeded by the feeling and taste of lightening, to George’s minister grandfather and through some of George’s childhood memories.

I finished this book only an hour ago and immediately went to read reviews of it. I was surprised to see that, despite having won the 2010 Pulitzer, it had mostly mediocre reviews on Amazon. Most of the complaints were that ‘nothing every happened’ and ‘there was no plot’.

Both are true, but that’s what made this story so beautiful. It wasn’t a story that felt crafted by an author, though the prose was lyrical and delicious. It wasn’t complicated. It wasn’t a story of what happens to people. It wasn’t even a story of who those people were. It was simply a story of what people choose to do with what’s given to them.

George’s father was a small time door to door salesman, traveling via a horse and buggy. Much of the story was the recounting of things that once were fixed, that we are now quick to discard. Clocks, clothing, furniture… things that are now considered disposable that once were worth mending.

Though, during the same time frame that we’re following George’s father helping to mend the broken possessions of his neighbors and customers, his father was himself thrown away. As he aged and his seizures became more violent and severe, the only thing to be done with him was to send him to a home for the criminally insane.

I really don’t know how to put into words what I learned from this book or what I thought about it. For me, reading this book was an experience. It touched me more deeply than anything I’ve read in a long time. This is a book that deserves being re-read, and I have every intention of doing so.

From a review by Elizabeth McCracken: “Paul Harding’s Tinkers is not just a novel – though it is a brilliant novel. It’s an instruction manual on how to look at nearly everything.”
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LibraryThing member Cariola
I have a feeling that I might have enjoyed this book more at a different time and in a different place. I was on a post-Christmas visit to family, had finished the book I brought with me, couldn't find anything worth reading in their house, and was at the mercy of the small airport book dealer to find something to read on the flight home and during a long stopover. I couldn't find a single thing on the shelves of interest that I hadn't already read or that wasn't sitting at home. Tinkers had been loved by several of my LT friends, so I decided to give it a try. Take it from me, it's not a book to breeze through during air travel time. It's a densely written, contemplative novel, and, if you're anything like me, the last thing you want to read on a plane is something philosophical that relies more on style than on content. It didn't exactly make the time go faster! Keep all this in mind if you're considering reading this much-acclaimed novel: I wouldn't want anyone to turn away from it when my review might have been much more positive under different circumstances.

So let me say first that the writing in Tinkers is indeed mighty fine. The story is told from two perspectives, that of the dying George Crosby and that of his father, Howard. Howard, an epileptic tinker, disappeared one day when he figured out that his wife was about to send him to a home for the insane, and George has been haunted all his life by the loss of his father. Interspersed are excerpts from an 18th century book on clock repair (George repairs clocks) and George's journal on local trees.

Harding does a remarkable job of getting into the minds of both men; his language is understated, evocative, and memorable. The novel reminded me of a cross between Margaret Atwood's Surfacing, which I read and loved long, long ago, and Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, an overblown, overrated novel that I absolutely detested.

So please take my three-star rating at face value and read the novel if it sounds appealing from what you've read elsewhere.
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LibraryThing member TimBazzett
THIS book won the PULITZER PRIZE for fiction??!! What were they THINKing? What did they SEE here that I didn't? Because I saw a mess. There were the makings of perhaps several novels here, none of them realized or developed. While it's true there are some beautiful lines wrapped throughout the "novel," none of them ever really come together to create an aesthetically pleasing whole. I put novel in quotation marks here, because I'm wondering if maybe this is some "new" kind of experimental fiction - ??

I bought this book because a couple of friends told me about it - about how it was about this old man dying, and that it had just won the Pulitzer. I had immediate visions of a book equal to, or perhaps even better than, Peter Pouncey's beautifully wrought novel about an old man, Rules for Old Men Waiting. And I also thought of last year's Pulitzer fiction winner, Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout. Both of those books have become favorites of mine that I recommend whenever I can. Perhaps I should have been suspicious when one of those friends added that it had never taken her so long to read such a short book. Because she was right. Tinkers is perhaps the loooooongest 191-page novel I have ever read. In fact, after nearly a week of picking it up and putting it down, I became afraid it would never end. I wanted to just chuck it and be done with it, but I kept thinking, "This book won the Pulitzer; it must get better." I was wrong. It didn't. But it finally did mercifully end, and in a not very interesting fashion. I'm sorry. This book is simply NOT Pulitzer material. I just lost faith in that selection committee.
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LibraryThing member msf59
Up in New England, George Crosby is dying. The old man is reclining in a rented hospital bed, placed in the center of his living room. He is suffering hallucinations but in his more lucid moments, his memory trails back to his boyhood and his recollections of his father. This is where the story shines, as we are introduced to Howard Crosby. He is a “tinker”, driving a wagon, led by an old mule, combing the back roads, selling his wares and performing small repairs. He does not own this business, so he makes little money, but still delivers a reliable and honest service and his isolated customers, grow to depend on him. Howard’s story is filled with wonderful vignettes and is beautifully written, like this passage: “The Storm came up from behind the mountain, shrouding the peak. Lightning crawled down the mountain and drank at the water, lapped the shallows with electric tongues, stunning bolt-eyed frogs and small trout and silver minnows. Thunder cracked like falling timber and shook the cabin as it clapped the water skin.”
Unfortunately, when the narrative returns to George and other meanderings, it loses some of it’s power and focus but is still a worthy read and I recommend it, mainly for Howard’s journey and it’s stunning prose.
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LibraryThing member kglavin
Is this the most riveting book ever written? No.

But then, the Pulitzer Committee is not searching for a roller-coaster thriller likely to be forgotten when finished. According to its guidelines, for its fiction award, it is looking:

"For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life..."

Paul Harding's "Tinkers" is definitely distinguished, commanding the respect of the reader long afterward.

The novel is also distinctly American--set in New England, it echoes the great works of the American Romantics, building upon them in a new and powerful way. Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter" is referred to explicitly with great panache. I also felt echoes of Hawthorne's classic short story, "Roger Malvin's Burial," a tale about unkept promises and familial loss upon the early American frontier (but perhaps that was my own reader-response).

Harding's book retraces the New England landscape of this same American frontier--some centuries later--obliquely. As various tropes surfaced throughout the work, such as hieroglyphics, I was reminded of Emerson's "Nature," which also made use of the trope (it was common in a lot of literature of the Romantics--especially after the news of the discovery of the Rosetta Stone). Just as Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, and other American Romantics would explore the deep, ineffable mysteries of Nature, so does Harding, with poetic symbolism, in this modern, transcendentalist masterpiece.

That said, don't get too worked up if the novel doesn't make perfect sense on the first read. It is not written chronologically. Instead, Harding writes in Emersonian circles, so to speak; the narrative shifts about, eventually receding deeper and deeper into the past--into the pain, joy, and wonder of being human--even as life is ebbing away. This novel works its magic on the reader--the audience feels a true connection. That is, we leave the world of fiction, walking away down the paths of our own lives, contemplating what is most precious as this ephemeral dream speeds by.
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LibraryThing member sarah-e
This is a heartbreaking and fascinating story of a man's death. As the main character dies he thinks about his father, his childhood, and his hobby.

The real brilliance of Tinkers is in the words. Open the book to any page and the words create a magnificent world. Harding intricately shows how the characters' defining moments and most illustrative qualities shape one another and prepare the main character for his final days.

I found personal importance in this book. It is lovely, compact, and worth the read.
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LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
This is a book that unfolds its riches slowly: you start out thinking it's latter-day Faulkneriana about a bunch of poor rural saps built for sadness, and if you're me at that point you think hard about putting the book down right then and there since you feel like what most of us--you yourself fall into this category, certainly--need more is a book about what people built for happiness do when sadness comes. But that book is still out there, no doubt, and besides, there's room for more than one book in a life. So you don't put it down, and gradually the extraordinary delicate brutality of some of the first vignettes (the father pulling out the old hermit's tooth; the son putting a wooden spoon, and then inadvertently his fingers, twixt the father's clenched jaws during his first epileptic fit) put down roots and twine together into a mood of othersidedness, by which I mean to call up both "the only way out is through" and "the reverse side has a reverse side," and also the far bank of the Styx and the Lethe, life and death bound up with memory and forgetting. The third part is a father–son reunion that flits in and out of reality via some tender, sad psychic pocket dimension. It is exceptional and the whole book's only like 110 pages and it's worth it even if you find the earlier part irritating, but which although I sometimes did, many of you won't.… (more)
LibraryThing member auntmarge64
This short novel, winner of the 2010 Pulitzer for fiction, sketches an old man's thoughts, memories, and hallucinations as he dies surrounded by family and friends. We learn of his own life and that of his father, a peddler, and grandfather, a minister, in rural Maine. Some of the writing is gorgeous and some very difficult, and there are parts which should be read aloud or very slowly just to savor the words. Little passages, such the instructions on how to build a birds' nest (using tools shaped like a bird's tiny beak) and the descriptions of the father's experiences of grand mal seizures, are stunning in their artistry. The book really needs to be read more than once, I think.… (more)
LibraryThing member andreablythe
I can accept this book, I suppose, as an extended prose poem. It has the dense imagery and dreamlike quality of a poem, scenes shifting between person, place, time with little or no transition. It's a book more focused on it's own poetic language than on plot, more on ideas than on people, with the people only really serving as a framework for philosophical exploration. The language is often beautiful, but is sometimes hard to follow. This is a book that's requires analysis and deciphering, a book that requires extra mental work to get through and make sense of.

The story, such as it is, centers more or less on George, who is on his deathbed as an old man. Hallucinations begin to mix with flashes of his life and with long pondering on the nature of the universe and of life and death.

It also explores the life of his father, Howard, who had epilepsy and was a salesman and journeyed through the backwoods with a donkey and a cart to sell to the people who lived far from town. While the story is supposed to be mostly about George, it's Howard that we really gain a greater understanding of, a greater sense of who he is as a person. But even that sense is emotionally distant due to the density of the language.

Tinkers is especially hard to follow on audio book, because the scenes switch fairly often and it's not always clear that it moved on to a new section, at first, and there were times that because of this I mixed up whether the narrator was talking about George's life or Howard's (though maybe that's partly the point, since their lives are paralleled).

While I like how the threads ultimately weaved together at the end, I'm not sure I love the book as a whole. I might read it again later on in print format, so that I can really revel in the language, like I do with poetry, because it's the language and structure that really make the story worthwhile.
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LibraryThing member RobinDawson
This is a brilliant book – absolutely in the same space as Marilynne Robinson – gentle, reflective, beautiful language, close observations of people and places, a delight in the simple and true – and not the least concerned with the usual issues of urban living or city life.

It reminded me a little of 'Rules for Old Men Waiting' – but that old man was looking back on his relationships with a family he loved. It also reminded me of 'Out Stealing Horses' – and of course 'Gilead'.

The opening scene is of an old man (George Washington Crosby in New England) close to death; he has these haunting visions that the ceiling and the roof are caving in on him. In his last days George reflects on his father’s life as a tinker, and even his grandfather is included. ( The gr’father was a pastor , so as with Robinson’s novels we have a religious dimension. ) The dying man himself had been a watch repairer …. and like an old clock his own mechanism is wearing out with age. It’s a reflection on time, life, death and memory - big issues, but what makes it special are the many small scenes presented in exquisite detail. He shows a great love of language. There are some terrific descriptions of his father’s epilepsy.

But…… Harding sure also loves a long sentence.... on & on. At times I just lost my way. He also loves lists – that at times added little. I found the earlier sections which focus on George and his father engrossing but in the final quarter I started to skim. Perhaps George was cutting loose from his moorings, but it became too vague and wafty.
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LibraryThing member lansum
This is proof positive that just because a novel has won the Pulitzer Prize doesn't make it a compelling read. It covers the lives and deaths of a father and son (and a little about the grandfather) in the first half of the 20th century. There are descriptive passages of nature, with ethereal, ghostly touches. It's a short read, but if you find yourself wanting to give up about half-way through, keep reading for a few more pages--it gets better. Unless you're in a college English class and have to write a paper, skip this one.… (more)
LibraryThing member Doey
Hard to believe that this was a Pulitzer winning novel.
LibraryThing member amillion
I really wanted to like this book... it started off well, but then fell apart (much like the watches he tinkered with). At times, the writing is beautiful and the mini-stories engaging. But as a friend of mine described, it was "words, words, words, beautiful writing, words, words, words, engaging story, words, words, words, words, ..."
Three generations of men, all with intermixed points of view, facing death. Great writing at times, but this wasn't enough to make a compelling or even readable story to me. Maybe if I read it 3 or 4 times I would "get it", but I can't imagine spending one more minute with this book. Don't understand why it was a Pulitzer!
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LibraryThing member bobbieharv
The writing is amazing, especially for a first novel, but I found myself wishing for more of a plot. It's a very measured, careful portrayal of George, who is in the process of dying, and his father. I'm very much looking forward to Harding's next novel, which I hope will be more like the last 20 or 30 pages of this - exquisite writing, and finally something happened!… (more)
LibraryThing member Schmerguls
Since I have read every Pulitzer fiction prize-winner I read this. It tells of a guy dying and gives flashbacks of his life and his father's and grandfather's, and is a jumbled up mess, with much talk of clocks. I found it totally non-absorbing and was glad when I came to the last page.
LibraryThing member HeikeM
This book was just pressed into my hand without much explanation and so I read it a little apprehensive. But it is quite something. The book holds three stories, starting with George, one week before his death, drifting in and out of hallucinations, dreams and memories of childhood, growing up and particularly of his father, Howard. The second story is of Howard, the tinker selling wares from his mule drawn wagon, an epileptic with a mind full of dreams and beauty. The third and shortest story is of Howard's father, the priest who succumbed to mental illness. These three lives are interwoven, told like beautiful dreams, intercepted with quotes from a book -The Reasonable Horologist- (George is a repairer of clocks) and descriptions of the beauty of the nature that surrounds the homes of the three men.
It is difficult to say something about the message in the novel, but what I thought was the most important thing is that finally, on his deathbed, in his dreams, George understands why his father abandoned him, understands why he became what he is, understands the cause and effect of parental actions and is ready to forgive and forget. Finally he feels the strong bond between father and son and awaits a reunion after his death with happiness. This book is written so very beautiful, the language and turn of phrase so imaginative that I might even read it again.
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LibraryThing member SheriAWilkinson
Tinkers by Paul Harding

This is the story of George Washington Crosby an old man who is dying. As he lay dying his mind travels back to his youth, young adult and adult life. He remembers the struggles growing up, and how he got where he is today. Told with rich descriptive details, I was really transported into George's world. Tinkers is a thought provoking emotional memorable read. I highly recommend to all.

I received this book from LibrayThing in exchange for an honest review
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LibraryThing member BlackSheepDances
Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize
Maybe it’s the lower-case small font and nearly colorless cover of this novel that had me thinking that this was a quiet novel. I imagined it being somewhat quaint and simple, and began reading it with that in mind. The cover is possibly the only simple thing about this unique and lovely book. There are many threads throughout it: fatherhood, family, and time being foremost. But the mysterious elements of regret, personality, and love also wind through. It’s complicated without being tangled.
The first half of the book is a sort of parallel account of father and son, each from their perspectives and in their own voices. Howard, the father, is an epileptic who travels the countryside selling his wares. He watches over his family as best he can, with a particular fascination for his oldest son. At one point, his son runs away:
“There was a moment of sorrow, disappointment, and deep love for his son, whom he at that second wished had had a chance of real escape…I just wish that you had made it beyond the bounds of this cold little radius…”
George, his son, enters the story as an elderly man, in the week preceding his death, hallucinating about his life, his childhood, and his love for clocks. The thoughts alternate from one character to the other, but in real life they seldom had a conversation. Clearly, though, they were on each other’s mind. Details of their work, always involving small and seeming insignificant parts that lead to a complex whole, fill the narrative.
A change occurs though, in the middle of the book, that is ominous and painful and takes the story into a new direction. Suddenly the visual images change from small metal workings to descriptions of light, water, and landscapes. In this portion, the reader goes back further to Howard’s father, whose own mysterious existence now becomes the focus of Howard in his later years. The flashbacks are not confusing in this context, as happens in some novels, because the tightly woven threads of the narrative keep you in place. There’s almost a haunting feeling as you near the end, as you realize the implication of the events in the story.
“A move of the head, a step to the left or right, and we change from wise, decent, loyal people to conceited fools? Light changes, our eyes blink and see the world from the slightest difference of perspective and our place in it has changed infinitely…”
Harding describes his characters beautifully: full of contradictions, flawed, sometimes foolish, and yet often hopeful. At the same time, he describes one with a particular sort of rage and hatred that is masked by indifference. The contrast is chilling. This is by no means a suspense novel, but trying to understand the motives of some characters creates a sense of apprehension. An acknowledgement of the relics we carry, both literal and emotional, plays into the personal impact of the story. Some moments are unimaginably painful, and yet real: the family gathered before George’s death turns off all his ticking clocks, his life’s collection, because the sound is annoying to them. While he, in his semi-conscious state, realizes that without the ticking, time has essentially stopped, and his suffering is worsened with the loss. Little details like this mean you need to keep the Kleenex handy. And be prepared: you’ll want to hug your Dad and tell him that he means something to you.
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LibraryThing member llasram
This is such a beautiful, quiet little book. It moves back and forth through time according to its own dictates, making us aware that we see only handfuls of its characters most important moments. And yet it shows those moments with such fullness that every character stands solid and real. More poetry than fiction, with little plot as such, the novel instead paints an image of life, deep and clear. "[B:]e comforted in the fact that the ache in your heart and the confusion in your soul means that you are still alive, still human, and still open to the beauty of the world, even though you have done nothing to deserve it."… (more)
LibraryThing member emlzcole
Don't even bother ... not worth the day it takes to read it ... pretentious and absurd.
LibraryThing member franoscar
This is pretty good. Spoilers abound. There are a few glitches in the writing and a couple of editing errors. It is a story of fathers and sons. George is dying and there is detailed description of the process of his dying. His father Harold was an epileptic peddler who left the family when his wife (George's mother) decided to put him into an insane asylum. Harold's father was a minister who seems to have died when Harold was young but the telling is a little vague, and Harold didn't understand & went in search of him...or maybe that was all a fantasy. George repairs clocks (sometimes dishonestly & always expensively) and Harold fixed pots & pans, and I'm not sure what the minister did to be called a tinker. There is some pretty elaborate, perhaps florid writing, but it paints a picture that feels real.… (more)

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