"George Washington Crosby began to hallucinate eight days before he died."
Paul Harding hit the ground running with his 2009 debut novel "Tinkers."
"Tinkers" tells the story of the final eight days of George Crosby's life. As George lies dying in his living room surrounded by his family, he thinks back on his father, Howard, who walked out on his family when George was a boy. The story switches to Howard's life a generation earlier. Howard was an epileptic and left home when he discovered his wife was planning to commit him to an institution. Finally, we learn the story of Howard's father, whose wife committed him when his mental capacity deteriorated.
Harding tells this multi-generational story nonlinearly, revealing family secrets through the eyes of unreliable narrators, many of whom are losing their mental facilities. He tells a moving story of people and relationships and helplessness and growing old.
The author switches between first-person and third-person narration; between prose and poetry; and between past and present. Despite these sometimes jarring shifts, the story flows naturally, guiding the reader to its conclusion.
It is a touching story that earned its accolades.