Paul Harding

This is a beautiful book, rich in imagination, and even richer in poetry. Released in early 2009, Tinkers recently was awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, a remarkable recognition for a debut novel. And that was no fluke. Paul Harding reminds those of us who love literature and language just why we do. Rich in detail, vivid in execution, wise in its view of life—and death—this is a commanding and demanding little book, less than 200 pages of literary virtuosity. It asks something of its readers, though, because when I say it is demanding, that’s because some passages are so dense with imagery and meaning, they require immediate re-reading just to take it all in. Harding’s gem was rejected by a slew of editors and agents before it got taken by the little indie Bellevue Literary Press. The book is ruminative in a time when we’ve lost the taste for reflection, when we are more inclined to gorge ourselves on meaningless action, but in this quiet tale of a dying man’s last hours, we are reminded of how we live, and maybe even why. At 42 years of age, Paul Harding seems destined to join the pantheon of great writers, especially if Tinkers is an indication of his powers.