Join the HCSF Reading Group to discuss "Tinkers" by Paul Harding
December 10, 2023
All Virtual, Zoom
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Paul Harding 191 pages 2009
Harding's debut novel shocked the literary world when it won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction––the first small-independent-press book to do so in 30 years. According to that year’s Jury Chairwoman, "“Sentence for sentence, it was the most beautifully written and most gorgeous use of language of any of the books we looked at.”
From The New Yorker: "Harding's narrator dips in and out of the consciousness of a New England patriarch named George Washington Crosby as he lies dying on a hospital bed in his living room, 'right where they put the dining room table, fitted with its two extra leaves for holiday dinners.' The story traces Crosby’s life back to his hardscrabble Maine childhood, where his father was a tinker and travelling salesman who suffered from epileptic seizures. Crosby’s emotional life is dominated by his father’s abandonment of the family on learning that his wife was planning to have him institutionalized, but the most memorable parts of Harding’s novel may be his depiction of a nineteenth-century landscape complete with mule-drawn carts and “frozen wood so brittle that it rang when you split it.” In Harding’s skillful evocation, Crosby’s life, seen from its final moments, becomes a mosaic of memories, 'showing him a different self every time he tried to make an assessment.’”
Harding has taught expository writing at Harvard.