Jul 17, 2010
Paul Harding's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Tinkers, had the virtue of brevity, which compensated for the disjointed narrative style. According to Doug, after Harding had drafted this story of a dying father's reminiscences about his own father (and son), he shuffled its chapters in order to collapse the generations (and, according to some of us, confuse the reader).
Our comments were all across the board. But many reflected an appreciation for Harding's elegance with language, the visceral impact of his story, and the various metaphors (especially that clock!) for our mortality. Nevertheless, Peter griped about the deathbed obsession with mortality, Garth saw a plot suffused with mental illness, Dan found the story haphazard even though he insisted he read it while sober, and Paul and Tom A were both underwhelmed by the spareness of the story.
Our voting produced a miserly 4.8--faint praise for such an acclaimed title but certainly in keeping with our mixed feelings about this elegiacal father-son novella.
Glenn gave us several fine choices for September, but the vote came down to a nailbiter between serial murder and magnificent architecture in turn-of-the-century Chicago and the musings of Paul Theroux as he revisits eastern Africa. With a little prompting from Garth, who clearly felt our political sensibilities have been dulled by too much award-winning fiction, we went with Dark Star Safari.