Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tinkers by Paul Harding

Tinkers by Paul Harding

Tinkers is a story about George Crosby who is lying on his death bed with eight days of his life remaining.  He fades in and out of consciousness while his family surrounds his sick bed with around the clock visitations.  George revisits his past as his memory and body plan their imminent escape.

As George fades, his memory of his father and his childhood emerge to paint a complicated and impoverished upbringing in New England.  George lives a full life with a wife, children and grandchildren.  He built his house with his own hands, retires to tinker with outdated clocks and slowly grows old. 

Tinkers is a novel of the senses with detailed descriptions of just about everything.  The clocks are a metaphor for life that runs continually throughout the book, as Harding meditates on nature, clocks, life, family, birds nests, lightning, death and more.  At times the book moves forward slowly as the reader's mind wanders.  So then, the reader must re-read.

I was drawn to this book for it's beautiful cover, it's Pulitzer Prize winning status and my perception of it as being a quick read.  At 191 pages, it took me longer to read it than I thought it would, and as the story progressed, my mind had trouble focusing during the long digressions on nature and life. I found Tinkers worthwhile and meaningful but wished I was able to focus my mind on its complexities and fully comprehend its unique subtleties.   

Tinkers is a intimate, beautiful look at how death comes to each of us.  Each word is purposeful.   Tinkers is a reminder that life is slowly unwinding and ticking away, tick, tock, tick, tock. 

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