Enonby Paul Harding
Hailed as “a masterpiece” (NPR), Tinkers, Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize–winning debut, is a modern classic. The Dallas Morning News observed that “like Faulkner, Harding never shies away from describing what seems impossible to put into words.” Here, in Enon, Harding follows a year in the life of Charlie Crosby as he tries to come to terms with a shattering personal tragedy. Grandson of George Crosby (the protagonist of Tinkers), Charlie inhabits the same dynamic landscape of New England, its seasons mirroring his turbulent emotional odyssey. Along the way, Charlie’s encounters are brought to life by his wit, his insights into history, and his yearning to understand the big questions. A stunning mosaic of human experience, Enon affirms Paul Harding as one of the most gifted and profound writers of his generation.
Advance praise for Paul Harding’s Enon
“Drawing upon the same New England landscape and family as his Pulitzer Prize–winning debut, Tinkers, Harding deftly captures loss and its consequences in this gorgeous and haunting follow-up. [Enon is] an elegiac portrait of a severed family and the town of Enon itself, and Harding again proves himself a contemporary master and one of our most important writers.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Praise for Tinkers
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
and the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers
An American Library Association Notable Book
“In Paul Harding’s stunning first novel, we find what readers, writers and reviewers live for.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“There are few perfect debut American novels. Walter Percy’s The Moviegoer and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird come to mind. So does Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping. To this list ought to be added Paul Harding’s devastating first book, Tinkers.”—NPR
“Tinkers is truly remarkable. It achieves and sustains a unique fusion of language and perception. Its fine touch plays over the textured richnesses of very modest lives, evoking again and again a frisson of deep recognition, a sense of primal encounter with the brilliant, elusive world of the senses. It confers on the reader the best privilege fiction can afford, the illusion of ghostly proximity to other human souls.”—Marilynne Robinson
“A novel that you’ll want to savor . . . I found reading it to be an incredibly moving experience.”—Nancy Pearl
From the Hardcover edition.
“Paul Harding’s novel Tinkers won the Pulitzer Prize; its stunning successor, Enon, only raises the bar.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“An extraordinary follow-up to the author’s Pulitzer Prize–winning debut . . . Harding’s subject is consciousness rooted in a contemporary moment but bound to a Puritan past. His prose is steeped in a visionary, transcendentalist tradition that echoes Blake, Rilke, Emerson, and Thoreau, and makes for a darkly intoxicating read.”—The New Yorker
“So wild and riveting it’s practically an aria . . . Harding is a superb stylist.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Without blurring the sharply lucid nightmares and recollections, Mr. Harding pushes Charlie’s madness to a crisis point of destruction or renewal. The journey to the depths of his grief is unforgettably stark and sad. But that sadness, shaped by a gifted writer’s caressing attention, can also bring about moments of what Charlie calls ‘brokenhearted joy.’”—The Wall Street Journal
“Harding is an extraordinary writer, for the intoxicating power of his prose, the range of his imagination, and above all for the redemptive humanity of his vision. With painstaking brilliance, Enon charts one man’s attempt to salvage meaning from meaningless tragedy, to endure the ubiquitous presence of a loved one’s absence. A superb account of the banality and uniqueness of bereavement, it more than earns its place alongside such non-fictional classics as Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and CS Lewis’s A Grief Observed. That Enon is a work of fiction that feels authentic as memoir makes it all the more astonishing.”—Rebecca Abrams, Financial Times
“Enon is Joan Didion’s Blue Nights on major meds. . . . Time was the subject of Tinkers as grief is the subject of Enon. The two are related, like father and sons. Read Enon to live longer in the harsh, gorgeous atmosphere that Paul Harding has created.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Paul Harding’s excellent second novel . . . is a lovely book about grief, the ways in which we punish ourselves for feeling it, and, ultimately, how we rebuild our lives even when they seem unsalvageable.”—New York Daily News
“Harding’s mythic sensibility, soaring empathy for his devastated yet life-loving protagonist, comedic embrace of the absurd, and exquisite receptivity to the beauty and treachery of the living world make for one astonishingly daring, gripping, and darkly resplendent novel of all-out grief and crawling-from-the-ruins survival.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Drawing upon the same New England landscape and family as his Pulitzer Prize–winning debut Tinkers, Harding deftly captures loss and its consequences in this gorgeous and haunting follow-up. . . . Offering an elegiac portrait of a severed family and the town of Enon itself, Harding’s second novel again proves he’s a contemporary master and one of our most important writers.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“As Charlie’s grief reaches its apex, he’s consumed by dark visions, and Harding’s skillful whipsawing of the reader from the surreal to the quotidian is the best writing he’s done.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
- Random House Publishing Group
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Meet the Author
Paul Harding is the author of the novel Tinkers, which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers. He was a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Harvard University, and Grinnell College.
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, This book is like reliving that summer before you started antidepressants and everyone in your life knew you were depressed but you thought you just needed some comfort food and to re up on bath and body works.
Intense descriptions of psychological tangents by a suffering addict.
What a sad, sad book. Having lost a much older child in a tragic accident, I could identify with Charlie’s loss, pain, and lack of will to continue living. However, unlike Charlie, I had the love and support of my husband, other children, family, and friends. This is a heart-wrenching story about poor Charlie, who makes his daughter, Kate, his life. When she is killed, he has no boundaries; no job; no apparent friends; his wife leaves him; he has nothing left to define his life; turns to drugs and alcohol; and, “lives” in the past and dreams. Many times, I was hoping in the next chapter that Charlie would finally reach the depths of his despair and pull himself back together. A sad, sad tale. I received a free copy of Enon through Goodreads First Reads.
If you are looking for a read that is full of plot twists and turns, feel good characters and a happy ending, then you would be well advised to give this tragic book a miss. If you are prepared to dive into its pages, you may be surprised at the emotions it evokes in you. Without revealing spoilers, this novel is a journey into hell via the grief and anguish of one man. We see how this duo enables his year-long addiction to alcohol and drugs, alienates those he loves and are trying to support him, and generally takes him on a downward spiral few of us could imagine going on. This novel takes the reader to the brink of the character’s madness, as we are trapped inside his head during his periods of hallucinations and flashbacks while he struggles unsuccessfully to come to grips with the destroying loss he has suffered. To pull no punches, this is a grim and almost depressing book, but the Author has written it beautifully and with great assurance; bringing to the page something that needs to be read to understand that we, although of the same species, do not cope with grief in the same way. The book is written in the first person narrative, and this style is very effective in making this novel believable as we drift with the main protagonist further from his hold on reality. I did find in some places that the book was a little disjointed and rambling, whether or not this was intentional on the part of the Author to play into the whole mind of the main character I don’t know, but it was a little distracting at times and pulled away some of my enjoyment in this read. Also, not being a voyeur, I found this book to give me an uncomfortable feeling as if I were intruding in a place I really should not have been, and this again detracted from my enjoyment. The unending flow of misery and isolation really began to pull me down in the end, and I was relieved when I finally turned the last page and was able to set this aside. Although the book was definitely not for me, I gave it a three thumbs rating because of the way in which it is written. It is rich in prose and the visual landscapes of settings and emotions the reader encounters as they ‘journey’ through the book, were written in such a way as to demonstrate the command of the pen this Author appears to have. If you enjoy reading about another’s pain, be it self-induced or inflicted on them by forces beyond their control, this is probably a read you would enjoy, other than those in this area I really couldn’t recommend this novel to readers of any one particular genre.
From the opening lines of the book Enon, "Most men in my family make widows of their wives and orphans their children. I am the exception," the reader realizes they are joining the protagonist, Charlie Crosby, on a difficult path to find understanding and peace amidst tragedy. As I began of the book, I was taken back to my first reading of The Stranger, where Albert Camus's protagonist delivers news of his mother's death with terse prose that does not include judgement or emotion. Charlie shares simple statements of his daughter Kate's death that reflect his shock and his need to keep his emotions at bay. Though he does his best to escape his emotions, Charlie finds them unbridled at the subconscious level and he visits with Kate in his dreams. Throughout the story, Charlie has difficulty grasping the reality of his loss, and through this trying process tries escape his own thoughts. In the background we see the dissolution of his doomed marriage as he is overwhelmed with his need to examine his own life and its meaning. Charlie's life unravels during his difficult intrapersonal journey. Charlie reflects on the experiences of his past, who he is and where he came from in his struggle for inner peace. His reflections move in time between his youth and his past with Kate. The title of the book Enon is a reference to AEnon of the bible where John the Baptist performed his baptisms. Reading this story of Charlie and the difficulties that he wrestles with, we are hoping that he can find life anew from the healing waters of the Enon.
In his deep depression over the death of his young daughter his life completely falls apart. His mind, his house, drinking...loss of friends. So sad but beautifully descriptive even if the description is of chaos. I didn 't realize that this was the same family from another book, The Tinker,s until after I'd read the reviews. I enjoyed the first book much better. These ramblings are like James Joyce, going on forever. Yet, the protagonist's mind is on that run-on track. It did, however, give me a headache!
Love Mr. Harding's descriptive abilities. I can actually feel the New England fog at dawn.
Paul Harding captures the intense grief of a parent whose child is killed. He honestly conveys the pain of a parent in this situation and the difficulty of finding a way to go on. He is a beautiful writer and this, like Tinkers, is an outstanding book that I would highly recommend.