Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reflections: Tinkers

Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts on Paul Harding's Tinkers:

"I didn't have any expectations when I opened the first page of Tinkers.  I found the book on Amazon by accident and put it on my Wish List on a whim.  I can reasonably say I will never forget it. 

Three quarters of the way through the book, which is short, the most I could say about Tinkers is that it was bleak.  (For some reason, reading Tinkers made me feel what I did when I watched The Tree of Life; although, The Tree of Life is far more abstract).  Tinkers seemed for a time to be traveling down the well-trodden paths of most modern literature, broken family, futile lives, etc., but Tinkers became something much, much more.  I stuck with it, just like I do for almost every book I start reading, and I am very glad I did.

The book relies heavily on themes of death but also, and by natural extension, explores themes of life and living.  Tinkers doesn't make you feel 'happy'; rather, I felt sadness when reading it.  However, I did feel something, genuine and real.  That's my greatest compliment for the book.  It got into me, my mind and soul.  I thought about it, wondered over it, debated with myself, and was grateful for the experience.  As I continue to think about various episodes in the book, I start to see it as more life-affirming than I originally believed.

I'm glad I read Tinkers.  It came as a surprise to me, especially since my initial perceptions of it were poor.  In a strange and somewhat unexplainable way, it's a part of me now.  When I discuss books with others, I think Tinkers will be part of the conversation.  It made me feel, which made me feel enlightened, which is why I read."

Tinkers won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2010.

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