Friday, November 25, 2011

Tinkers, Paul Harding

From time to time a novel of particularly excellent quality slips under the radar and once discovered surprises me with unmatched mechanics, beautiful imagery and memorable characters. One such novel was Tinker by Paul Harding published in 2009 by the Bellevue Literary Press, a very small publisher founded in 2005. After spying the books haunting cover on a book shelf I picked it up and discovered that it was not only Harding’s first novel but, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010 and was the first book published by a small publisher to do so in 29 years. Tinkers is an amazing piece of American literature and can listed alongside other classic novels such as The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

Tinkers, is a story of a man who in between the spaces hallucinations and clarity of his last few dying days recollects his past childhood and his relationship with his father as a young boy in New England. From his days spent as a thoughtful clock mender and the time spent on the back of his father’s mule drawn wagon Paul Harding shows his readers beauty and mystery with the most delicately written images and draws shock and awe without a moment’s hesitation, steering readers further down into the dying mind of George Crosby. While the book’s “plot” is loosely defined and is very untraditional by any standards the memories seen in its 191 pages allow the reader to follow Crosby and actually feel as the cogs and clock hands or his life come to rest.

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