Tinkers

I consider myself a pretty good reader.  This book was #59 for the year.  And in that 59 are some tough books.

I picked up tinkers numerous times in the book store.  How could such a small book be the winner of the Pulitzer?  And the staff pick in so many places?

This is a seriously small book.  191 small pages.  How could the author create all the pieces necessary for a Pulitzer Prize winning book in that space?

Having read the book, I still am not sure.  Yes, I read all the pages of this book.  Some of them I read twice.  Taking each sentence on its own I understood it.  The English was intelligible.  However, when you put the sentences together and I couldn’t make sense of them.

The general plot is that a man is on his deathbed and he is delusional and considering his life.  However, he’s also considering his father’s life (from various perspective) and the ordering of the scenes is non-linear.  Moments in the book jump space and time.  They jump person to person.

It took me until over halfway through the book to let go of the need to understand what was happening and who was the focus of each scene.  Once I let go and just read, I came to appreciate the quality of Paul Harding’s writing.  Technically, the writing is wonderful.

For a linear person, the book proves frustrating until you understand the craziness of the book.  Given that I usually finish a book in a week, the face that a small 191 page book took me more than 2 weeks to finish says a lot.  There was nothing to draw me into the book.  I never cared about any of the characters and the lack of a linear plot was disorienting, rather than compelling.

I still think it’s a good book.  Well, I think it’s a good and interesting piece of writing.  As a book, I wouldn’t recommend it, but I can understand why a reader would find it interesting.

Or, I may have missed the point all together.

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