All I need to be entertained are cats within ear-scratching distance and a good book . . .OK, maybe that's not ALL I need, but it's a good start.

I love to read. And I love to get recommendations for books to read.

I started Cats and a Book to share the books I read with others. Some I love, some I don't, but you may love the ones I don't, so you're welcome to post your own comments and suggestions.

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Happy reading!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tinkers, by Paul Harding

Tinkers, written by Paul Harding and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction this year, is the story of three generations of men as it is told during the last hours of the youngest one's life. The novel opens with George, having come home to a hospital bed in the dining room, surrounded by family, knowing he is dying. He is hallucinating, imagining his home is falling down around him. He barely recognizes the family members who keep him constant company as he reflects on his life. Harding returns to the hours before George's death throughout the short novel.

George repairs clocks, and Harding describes in detail how the mechanism of the clocks set time in motion. The concept of time, of losing it and restoring it, is a theme that echoes the time lost during seizures, and the resumption of "normal" life. George's father, Howard, suffered the same malady as George--they both had grand mal seizures as a result of epilepsy. Harding describes the seizures as an electrical event, the "voltage" from which the universe is made, and that "Howard, by accident of birth, tasted the raw stuff of the cosmos."

As a child, George was shielded from his father's epilepsy until he witnessed a seizure and was accidentally bitten. A visit to the local doctor started a series of events that led to Howard leaving home. After Howard left, George began experiencing seizures himself.

It is not what some might consider a gloomy plot that draws the reader to this short novel. It is the elegance of the writing, the stitching together of descriptive passages, and the artful use of words to give the reader insight into the lives of its characters.

Tinkers is beautifully written. It was published by Bellevue Literary Press in 2009.

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