Special edition of Paul Harding’s 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.
The story behind this New York Times bestselling debut novel—the first independently published Pulitzer Prize winner since A Confederacy of Dunces received the award nearly thirty years before—is as extraordinary as the elegant prose within it. Inspired by his family’s history, Paul Harding began writing Tinkers when his rock band broke up. Following numerous rejections from large publishers, Harding was about to shelve the manuscript when Bellevue Literary Press offered a contract. After being accepted by BLP, but before it was even published, the novel developed a following among independent booksellers from coast to coast. Readers and critics soon fell in love, and it went on to receive the Pulitzer Prize, prompting the New York Times to declare the novel’s remarkable success “the most dramatic literary Cinderella story of recent memory.”
That story is still being written as readers across the country continue to discover this modern classic, which has now sold over half a million copies, proving once again that great literature has a thriving and passionate audience.
Paul Harding is the author of two novels about multiple generations of a New England family: Enon and the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tinkers. He teaches at Stony Brook Southampton.
Harding's outstanding debut unfurls the history and final thoughts of a dying grandfather surrounded by his family in his New England home. George Washington Crosby repairs clocks for a living and on his deathbed revisits his turbulent childhood as the oldest son of an epileptic smalltime traveling salesman. The descriptions of the father's epilepsy and the "cold halo of chemical electricity that encircled him immediately before he was struck by a full seizure" are stunning, and the household's sadness permeates the narrative as George returns to more melancholy scenes. The real star is Harding's language, which dazzles whether he's describing the workings of clocks, sensory images of nature, the many engaging side characters who populate the book, or even a short passage on how to build a bird nest. This is an especially gorgeous example of novelistic craftsmanship.