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Tinkers Hardcover – 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: William Heinemann; British First edition (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434020842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434020843
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.2 x 20.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #818,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

It goes without saying that any review is a subjective opinion. It's a -potentially- qualified observation as filtered through the person's experiences and biases. Precision and accuracy aren't exactly guaranteed aspects of the process.

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.
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By M. Yakiwchuk TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 2 2012
Format: Paperback
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
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Format: Paperback
I'm a voracious reader and can usually get through a book in 2-3 days, 1 week max, but after several weeks, can't be bothered finishing this book. It isn't poorly written, but parts of it are written in a style I can't stand.. think Life of Pi. If you liked that kind of rambling, you won't mind tinkers.
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