Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book Review - Tinkers

This year one of my goals is to read the Pulitzer Prize winners in fiction and review them here on my blog. My latest finish is one of the more recent winners (2010) - Tinkers by Paul Harding.

This is the fourth Pulitzer Prize winner I've read this year . . . and by far my least favorite! The book intertwines the stories of George Washington Crosby and his father. George is an old man who is dying from cancer and his memories are interspersed with the hallucinations he is having during this time (like the house falling down around him). His father was a tinker (an itinerant tinsmith who mended household utensils) who also had epileptic episodes. In the midst of these two stories, the author randomly inserts short sections from a book on clock repair and brief conversations George has with the family who is gathered in preparation for his death.

I personally found the book to be extremely disjointed. I was several paragraphs (or pages) into some chapters before it became apparent who's point of view the author was writing from (as it changed from chapter to chapter), which made for slow, laborious reading. There are also long sections of description that seem to go on and on without really contributing to the story line or overall mood of the story. Honestly, it was easy to see the writer's talent in some of the poetic descriptions and the stream of consciousness perspective, however it just didn't all come together for me and left me wondering why it won a Pulitzer.

Have any of you read this book? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


  1. I haven't read it, but I know people who have. I think it's kindof a love it or hate it book. And even those who love it say it's best read in very small sittings to appreciate the language. I think I'll skip it!
    p.s. Congrats on the weight loss.
    p.p.s. I included one special item on the scavenger hunt list for you and my cousin Irene in Houston. Can't wait to see what you do with it!

  2. I don't know this one, Melissa - sounds both interesting and challenging!

  3. It sounds interesting - "novel", in fact. Sometimes that may be all that is necessary to capture the attention of the judges - a clever idea at a certain point in time, even if executed poorly, can impress. Often, reading what the author says about his book is needed to really pick up on what he was trying to accomplish; perhaps the disjointedness added to his story, in his mind. Of course, I think if the author has to give a lot of additional information for the reader to be able to read between the lines, then he wasn't effective.

  4. I've not heard of it, sounds hard to read. Perhaps in short bits as Rinda mentioned. Congratulations on getting through it tho'!

  5. It's not a book I've heard off, but I don't think it's something that would capture me


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