Sunday, November 20, 2016
"Tinkers" by Paul Harding
Did I actually choose this book myself? I remember it's one we got after browsing in Emerald Isle Books & Toys this summer, and if I had to guess I'd say I first picked it up because the cover reminded me a little bit of both A Meal in Winter and Three Weeks. Of course the Pulitzer prize didn't hurt. And I would have to also lay some blame on Marilyn Robinson for calling it "truly remarkable." But after reading it (as well as while reading, for what felt like an eternity) I couldn't figure out what in the world attracted me to it.
Tinkers was like my own personal dementor, only instead of sucking out my soul, it sucked out my will to read. It's a tiny book--only 191 pages--and it literally took me 8 weeks to read. That's less than 24 pages a week . . . less than 4 pages a day . . . for a book that I could have sucked down in one afternoon, if I had felt compelled.
I'm sure Tinkers is a very good and beautiful and worthy book, but I don't even want to talk about it. I just want to pick up something that reminds me why I love to read instead of making me think I hate it. But I have to at least jot down a few memories so I'm never tempted to pick it up and read it again "just in case" (maybe I missed something . . . maybe I would enjoy it more during another season of my life . . . maybe if I *did* read it all in one sitting it would be great). Because I must admit that early on my reading was so fragmented that I forgot there were two main characters (Howard the epileptic tinker/salesman who abandoned his family, and his son George the clocksmith, who is old and dying) and I temporarily conflated the two and confused myself. There, that ought to be enough.