Tinkers (novel)

Last updated
First edition hardcover
Author Paul Harding
CountryUnited States
Publisher Bellevue Literary Press
Publication date
January 1, 2009
Media typePrint (Hardcover), e-book
Pages191 pp.
ISBN 978-1934137192 (hardcover)

Tinkers is a 2009 first novel by American author Paul Harding. The novel tells the stories of George Washington Crosby, an elderly clock repairman, and of his father, Howard. On his deathbed, George remembers his father, who was a tinker selling household goods from a donkey-drawn cart and who struggled with epilepsy. [1] The novel was published by Bellevue Literary Press, a sister organization of the Bellevue Literary Review.


Tinkers won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and other awards and honors. [2] The Pulitzer board called the novel "a powerful celebration of life in which a New England father and son, through suffering and joy, transcend their imprisoning lives and offer new ways of perceiving the world and mortality." [2]

Tinkers follows George Crosby in the days before he dies and his memories from his childhood. The book takes you through both George's life as well as his father's, Howard, who sells home goods from a wagon in New England. You learn about George's skill at fixing clocks which becomes a metaphor for life's beauty as well as its fragility. It is about Howard's struggle with epilepsy as well as his own relationship with his father who was a minister who fell ill when Howard was a boy. It is a novel that is not only about death but the gift of simple pleasures of nature and being in the world. It is about fathers and sons, solitude and connection.


The Los Angeles Times praised "a writer [who] describes something so well—snow, oranges, dirt—that you can smell it or feel it or sense it in the room." [3] The New Yorker enjoyed Harding's "skillful evocation [and] mosaic of memories". [4] The Boston Globe called the novel a "poignant exploration of where we may journey when the clock has barely a tick or two left and we really can't go anywhere at all." [5] The New York Times failed to review the novel before the Pulitzer Prize announcement, noting that it was the first novel since A Confederacy of Dunces in 1981 to come from a small publisher and win that award. [6]

Awards and honors



  1. Tinkers at Bellevue Literary Press
  2. 1 2 Pulitzer Prize Fiction 2010, Pulitzer.org
  3. Review by Susan Salter Reynolds in The Los Angeles Times, Dec 28, 2008.
  4. "Books Briefly Noted", The New Yorker, Jan 12, 2009
  5. Review by Chris Bohjalian in The Boston Globe, Feb 28, 2009
  6. "The One That Got Away", The New York Times Papercuts blog, April 12, 2010
  7. 1 2 The Literary Horologist: Paul Harding “Tinkers” With Time, OpenLoopPress interview

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