4 Stars - Strongly Recommended
"An old man lies dying."
This was 'the book that got away' at the BEA. By the time I made my way down to the Consortium booth, I was informed that the final three copies they had on the back shelf were not to be given away. No amount of subtle flirting or sweet talking seemed to have any effect on the booth attendant, and so I was forced to walk away empty handed.
Of course, once the BEA was over, the 'book that got away' suddenly began appearing everywhere. I couldn't turn my head, log onto my computer, or close my eyes without seeing Tinkers. I wanted it so badly....
Thank goodness for Molly, of A Literary Light, who takes on publicity for Bellevue Literary Press. She was kind enough to answer my plea and ship off a copy of Tinkers for review.
Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize , author Paul Harding takes his readers on a journey of life and loss through the dying moments of George Crosby; an antique clock repairman, husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
As George lies on his death bed, struggling to remember the names of family members and friends who visit him in his final hours, he envelopes himself in the memories of his father and of his own long life.
Tinkers is not the bring-a-box-of-tissues tear-jerker story that I imagined it would be. Yes - It's a peek into the mind of a dying man - filled with hallucinations and sometimes unconnected thoughts. Yes - it deals with the reality of death and dying and all the fears and uncertainty that accompany it. But it is also a celebration of life and love and loss - of the things that happen, that shape us into the people we have become.
No one has a picture perfect life. I'm not sure there even IS such a thing. Married 12 years, mother of two devilish boys, daughter of divorced parents, older sister to two very different and complicated siblings, perhaps I am bit jaded and cynical. I believe very strongly that each and every one of us have our crosses to bear. Struggles that we've survived and wish we could forget. Shames that follow us, lurking around every corner and within every shadow. People we have hurt or left behind...Or people who have hurt us and left US behind...
The writing is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy - sparse and impactful, each word seemingly chosen so carefully, aching beautiful - and also a bit like Jose Saramago - written in long and winding paragraphs that span full pages at a time with run on sentences that sometimes appear to sidetrack us from the author's original thoughts.
I especially appreciated the fact that our main character was a clock repairman and the poetic descriptions of the inner workings of those tiny time keepers - the way a dying clock can be compared to a dying man.
Tinkers is a novel that I would recommend readers do not miss. It is a book to be experienced, it contains words that need to be read.