(This review was originally published on Tattered Cover’s blog, Between the Covers.)
George Washington Crosby is dying. His body is stuck in the hospital bed in his living room, surrounded by grieving family members and the accumulated possessions of a lifetime. But his mind is unfettered, jumping back and forth through time and consciousness, coming to terms with a life lived. And, just as importantly, coming to terms with the life his father lived.
Tinkers is a meditation on the moments that make us and on the way that fathers and sons make each other. George’s father, Howard, was a tinker, riding his cart through backwoods and down country roads to sell supplies to worn out farmer’s wives and hermits. He was also an epileptic and a poet. George spends his retirement tinkering with antique clocks, getting lost in the precise details and the minute motions needed to make the clocks work again. We see, from each man’s perspective, the pivotal moments in his life.
Tinkers won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. It was well-deserved: this is a beautiful novel about how we live and how we come to die.