Although it's only 207 pages long, Tinkers took me almost two weeks to read. As other reviewers have mentioned, the story is non-linear and the author avoids using quotation marks for character dialogue - a convention which can sometimes create confusion. One of the biggest challenges when reading this book, is figuring out if the author is writing about what is actually happening, or a character's thoughts/imagination/hallucinations. There is one section in the middle of the book where Harding is writing about the protagonist's father, but occaisionally returns to the son (who is 80 years old and dying) without mentioning either persons name. This can be confusing.
Aside from having an interesting style, is Tinkers worth reading purely for entertainment? In a word: No. Harding's abstract, artistic, and detached style of writing make his story seem unreal. Unlike other "great" books I have read, like Moby Dick and War & Peace, Tinkers didn't make a strong impression on me. Harding's descriptions of situations and environments are too abstract, and his filling-in of the psychological and emotional states of his characters too sparse. I found many of the stories in the book completely unbelievable, as if they were imagined by a writer and never happened.
So, why not one star? Well, for a start I finished the book. And though I didn't like it, it's unusual enough that I never found reading it to be a chore. If you have something you've been wanting to read, I recommend reading that first. If you're looking for something different from what you've read before, then you could do worse than giving Tinkers a try. 2/5