Tick-tocking away the time – “Tinkers” by Paul Harding
That’s kind of how I felt while reading “Tinkers” by Paul Harding.
Hear me out.
This sad novella explores the line between memory and reality, life and death. As the hours of George’s life wind down, so do his memories, thoughts, and the legion of clocks in the house, which he has spent most of his life tweaking and repairing. Family members and friends weave in and out of both his dreams and his reality as he lies in bed, readying to die. He recalls his father’s career as a salesman, and the frightening seizures his father suffered from all his life. It’s really a story about making peace with yourself and those in your life before the clock runs out.
Paul Harding has a gift for words, and there are more than a few passages in the book I highlighted while reading. Harding writes in beautifully minuscule detail of the kind of seemingly minor events that make up a life. If you never grow to care deeply about George or any of the other lesser-developed characters, you’ll at least be blown away by the technique of this writer’s craft. It’s a sad, simple little book told with exquisite combinations of words.
“Tinkers” won the 2010 Pulitzer for fiction, and I can’t argue with that award. Not a bit. Harding is as good as writers come. I would have liked more emotional involvement to go with this parade of word-brilliance, but hey.. A minor squabble, indeed.