Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Tinkers - Paul Harding At some point, I will learn to stop scouring the Pulitzer finalists lists for books to read, because it always ends up exactly the same way. Always.::: Plot :::The, er, plot of Paul Harding's Tinkers is fairly simple, and easily spoiled. A man, George Crosby, who fixed clocks, is dying. On his death bed, surrounded by family, he reflects back on his life, and somehow, on that of his father, Howard, a tinker (or traveling backwoods salesman) who suffered from epilepsy.::: Why It Took Me So Long To Read This :::All during my trek through the combined bodice-ripping works of J.R. Ward, I was taking breaks and reading Tinkers. And after the last Ward book was finished, I was still reading Tinkers. For days.This book is Harding's debut novel, and won the Pulitzer. When I read the reviews on Amazon bashing it, I had no idea why people were so angry, but I understand it much better now; Harding's novel is just that hard to read.I'll admit that I hate novels that are very stylized, and Tinkers definitely falls in that category. It shifts between third person and first person narration. It ignores basic punctuation like quotation marks that would let you know a person was speaking or even thinking. But what makes Tinkers so very hard to read is the stream-of-consciousness style that focuses on every single detail to the extreme, and most of the time, using awkward phrasing. An example:"When the head's mouth opened, almost before the fish had even broken the surface of the stream, it made a hole, into which the dark water smoothly flowed."It's the type of pretty prose that MFA programs lust over but readers struggle with, and I'll be honest; I'd rather read a decently written mediocre book than a difficult-to-read excellent book. Tinkers may have a lot to say about the relationship between fathers and sons, and about the time before death, but it's so lost in the weeds that I think I missed it.This review originally published on Epinions:

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