One of our recommended books for 2019 is Tinkers by Paul Harding

TINKERS

10th Anniversary Edition


Special edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning debut novel–featuring a new foreword by Marilynne Robinson and book club extras inside.

In this deluxe tenth anniversary edition, Marilynne Robinson introduces the beautiful novel Tinkers, which begins with an old man who lies dying. As time collapses into memory, he travels deep into his past, where he is reunited with his father and relives the wonder and pain of his impoverished New England youth. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, Tinkers is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.

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Special edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning debut novel–featuring a new foreword by Marilynne Robinson and book club extras inside.

In this deluxe tenth anniversary edition, Marilynne Robinson introduces the beautiful novel Tinkers, which begins with an old man who lies dying. As time collapses into memory, he travels deep into his past, where he is reunited with his father and relives the wonder and pain of his impoverished New England youth. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, Tinkers is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.

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  • Bellevue Literary Press
  • Paperback
  • January 2019
  • 208 Pages
  • 9781942658603

Buy the Book

$16.99

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About Paul Harding

Paul Harding is the author of two novels about multiple generations of a New England family: Enon and the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tinkers.

Praise

“A powerful celebration of life in which a New England father and son, through suffering and joy, transcend their imprisoning lives and offer new ways of perceiving the world and mortality.” —Pulitzer Prize citation 

Tinkers is truly remarkable. . . . It confers on the reader the best privilege fiction can afford, the illusion of ghostly proximity to other human souls.” —Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead 

Tinkers is not just a novel—though it is a brilliant novel. It’s an instruction manual on how to look at nearly everything. Harding takes the back off to show you the miraculous ticking of the natural world, the world of clocks, generations of family, an epileptic brain, the human soul.” —Elizabeth McCracken, author of Bowlaway 

“Keep[s] a reader coming back … Like Faulkner, [Harding] never shies away from describing what seems impossible to put into words.” —Dallas Morning News

Discussion Questions

1. Tinkers is told over the course of eight days, as George lies dying— approximately the same amount of time it takes a hand-wound clock to run down. What do clocks symbolize in Tinkers, and why do you think their care and repair is so important to George?

2. George is very tolerant and forgiving of his mother’s bitterness toward his father’s illness. What do you think accounts for this? What other roles does illness play in the story? How does it draw the characters together or pull them apart?

3. How do the secrets the family keeps from each other affect the way they interact? How do those secrets color their worldview?

4. The spirituality in this novel is subtle but profound. What do you think the author is trying to say about forgiveness, grace, love, and free will?

5. The author, a former drummer, has said that his experience in a band helped him “keep the time” in this novel. Do you sense that rhythm within the story, and is it the kind of novel you’d expect from a rock musician?

6. The narrative is nonlinear, circling back upon the present day as George explores his own memories and as the histories of his father and grandfather are slowly revealed. By telling the story this way and by merely suggesting certain events and leaving other subjects open- ended, do you feel the author succeeds in inviting readers to open their own imaginations and fully participate in and experience the book?

7. The role that kindness plays in the novel is very evocative. How do the passages about the hermit who returned Howard’s kindness with his most precious belonging affect your understanding of both characters? What other acts of kindness are performed in the book?

8. In what ways do you see this novel fitting into other classic and contemporary stories of the American experience?