Tinkers surprised everyone by winning the Pulitzer Prize earlier this year. It’s a debut novel from a tiny publishing house so few people had heard of it before its Pulitzer win, let alone predicted that it would scoop the biggest prize in American literature. I’m trying to read all the Pulitzer winners, so naturally Tinkers went straight onto my wish list.
Tinkers begins with George Washington Crosby lying in a hospital bed with eight days left to live. He starts to hallucinate and through a series of flashbacks we come to learn about George’s life and his about his father, Howard.
The book is very short (190 well spaced pages) and contains many beautifully written passages, but I think I might have given up on this book had it been any longer. I felt that most of the scenes were over described:
There were so many lists of objects in this book that I began to laugh whenever I spotted one – not a good sign for a supposedly serious book.
George used to repair clocks and I did learn a few interesting facts about tinkers, but it isn’t the most exciting profession in the world! Numerous quotes from The Reasonable Horologist by the fictioanl Kenner Davenport were sprinkled through the text and I thought that the best quotes from the book all came from these sections.
This is one of those books that takes a look at the deeper things in life. If you enjoy slow, thoughtful books then you’ll probably enjoy it, but if you like a book to have some plot then stay away!
Tinkers is receiving very mixed reviews:
….a book to divert but not necessarily to detain. Asylum
I have never read a book like this, and will not forget it. Page247
….a combination of beautiful and flowery writing, with a boring memory based story. Bibliophile by the Sea
Harding’s mastery of language and character are mesmerizing. Nomadreader