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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tinkering with Life

Had a great birthday thanks to my great family and friends! Received a ton of cards and calls. Like I'm a somebody! It was great! Had some dear friends from Elkhart spend a couple of nights with us. Deb & John were on their way to Sturgis, S.D.

Don't tell me you haven't heard of Sturgis? A gazillion motorcycles descend on a small town and create havoc for a week. Most trailer their bikes in. Wooses. (no offense John) The area is spectacular this time of year. Mt Rushmore, Custer National Park, buffalo and prairie dogs all excited about the tourism. I'm not that brave. We took off for Galena, IL instead. Great food, fun shopping and just our luck, rain. Thanks to Jim Dout for the new Harley rainsuit he left me when they moved! I was dry as dry could be. A great weekend! Now here's short book review on a new book!

I've been a little busy. Tinkering mostly. Finished my second required text for my critical paper, a Pulitizer Prize winning book called "Tinkers" by Paul Harding. Wow! Talk about a confusing mix master of beauty in prose!

Here's a quick rundown. The book opens with the main character, George, a clockmaker. He's dying of cancer. Eight days left. The reader enters as George is hallucinating. Wild stuff nightmares are made of. As he calms a bit, his father, Howard, who died years ago is introduced. Howard was a tinker, a man who visited homes with a wagon full of items housewives and farmers might need. Sort of a salesman, repairman, shoulder to cry on kind of guy. Howard is also an epileptic whose wife is tired of nursing him.

The book is framed with George dying, but the story is interspersed with Howard and George's relationship. The stories are woven back and forth leaving the reader sometimes not knowing where they are or with which character they are with. Thrown in for good measure is a how-to of clock fixing.

I was pretty much confused through the whole thing, but kept being drawn back into the story because of the spectacular use of language. This was a first novel and it wins the Pulitizer Prize! Pretty amazing feat. I finished the book yesterday having underlined and marked up the whole thing. Than I sat back and thought about it.

Maybe the author meant the reader to be drawn in and confused as that was what Geroge was going through as he lay there dying. It was also what Howard went through as he wet through a seizure. The author was tinkering with the reader! Pretty amazing stuff here!


  1. Thanks for that fine critique of Tinkers. Now I don't have to read it. Was it on your MFA reading list--I'm guessing it was. Glad you had a nice birthday. Love the photo. Where is that gorgeous bougainvellia?

  2. Hey Gray!
    I have had technical problems that I am working out right now. Tinkers was so beautifully written but a bit confusing to me. Yet it deserves another read, so don't be discouraged. You'll love the language! And yes, it was part of my reading list! A lot of lessons to be learned in the framing of the story which I will use on my manuscript!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!