Book of the Week: Tinkers

Book of the Week: Tinkers

As I noted, I sat outside and read this weekend. Tinkers by Paul Harding — months ago my friend Anna told me about this subscription program that Powells Books in Portland runs, Indispensible. Every six weeks they send you a little box with a book and some other stuff in it. This was my first shipment, and it had Tinkers, a video magazine by the McSweeneys folks, and a poster by a comic book artist.

So, there I was with a lovely afternoon and a new book — a first novel that like many of my favorite books, isn’t particularly plot-driven. George Washington Crosby is dying. He’s lying in a rented hospital bed in his dining room. Like Evening by Susan Minot and Ava by Carol Maso, this is a book where lives telescope through the semi-hallucinatory memories of a dying person. George’s memories mingle with the story of his father, an itinerent, epileptic tinker. Like I said, there isn’t much plot but it’s a funny little book full of lovely images and beautiful sentences. And it does take on the big questions — what does a good life look like? What does it take to love? How do we move through the world?

And after a long week working on too many screens, it was a joy to sit in the backyard, in the winter sunshine, with a glass of iced tea in a mason jar, and to read a whole book. A small one to be sure, but a whole, lovely little book. To enter another world and to stay there for the duration.

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