Tinkers Hardcover – 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Yes, there are guidelines of sorts...but even these lack any surety.
Which is why divergent opinions are common.
'Tinkers' is a novel that certainly sets itself up to be divergent. If you read the blurbs on the back cover, the consensus is that it's no wonder at all that Paul Harding won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for this début. Unfortunately, I can't be part of that consensus...even though I can appreciate what he produced here: great writing (within its intent) yet not a 'great novel'.
For me, a 'great novel' provides an exemplary reading experience. Encompassing notions such as being 'transportive'. 'Illuminating'. 'Thought-provoking', 'elegiacal', 'moving', 'inspiring'...but most of all, 'entertaining'.
'Tinkers', on the whole, was not 'entertaining'. Nor was it, but for rare instances, hardly any of the other descriptives I've provided. (Let me say that Mr. Harding's talents shone best -for me, I'm just saying for me- when he was less purposefully artsy-fartsy and more direct. Less with the 'ephemeral', more being 'genuine'. Indeed, when the author is efficiently direct...especially in a storytelling vein...and not obtuse, when he doesn't faff about, weaving lofty thoughts in the air, the tale shines so much more brightly. Best example of this? The final thirty-or-so pages.)
It is a fine piece of work. Distinct, original...mindful of Life.
But as much as it possesses these attributes, it's also murky, disjointed and a challenge to grasp.Read more ›
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
Most recent customer reviews
Truly one of the best in fiction. Not particularly plot driven but a dream. For me it is what a book does best. Evocative, curious, contemplative. A fine writer.Published on Jan. 6 2012 by Pithy