Review: Tinkers by Paul Harding

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TinkersTinkers by Paul Harding

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

wow. I am blown away by this book. At some point I will read it again. It’s that kind of book.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it. The first few sentences brought tears to my eyes as they perfectly described the scene in my Mom’s house a year ago when Doug died:

George Washington Crosby began to hallucinate eight days before he died. From the rented hospital bed, placed in the middle of his own living room, he saw insects running in and out of imaginary cracks in the ceiling plaster. Once Snugly pointed and glazed, stood loose in their sashes. The next stiff breeze would topple them all and they would flop onto the heads of his family, who sat on the couch and the love seat and the kitchen chairs his wife had brought in to accommodate everyone.

That passage hit all to close to home. I often wonder what was going through Doug’s mind when he laid on the hospital bed in the middle of my Mom’s living room.

Honestly, I’m not sure I would’ve been able to read it before now. I’ve, thankfully, reached a place where I can think about Doug’s death without breaking out into sobs. Also, without the experience of watching him die, I’m not sure I’d be able to take as much away from this book as I am able to at this moment.

I’m really glad I read it.  The book was very profound. I need to read it again. In fact, I’ve downloaded the Kindle version and will actually read it rather than listen to it.

There were a few points that confused me. But I’m not sure this is the kind of book one can understand on an intellectual level. It doesn’t have a plot, and that bothers some reviewers on Goodreads. It is the hallucination of a dying man. Do hallucinations ever have plots? Do dreams have plots? No they don’t. They are a series of metaphors and images that might seem like they are strung together with a plot, but when you try to figure out what that plot is in the morning it seems to fade away; and you are left with vivid imagery.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this book all morning since I finished it. It is making me think about the veil between this life and what lies beyond this life. Whether it be what one might call “heaven” or whether it be past lives, or other lives that we might be living simultaneously (since time and space are an illusion). It makes me think about how, sometimes, that veil is very thin.

I’ll end this post with this beautiful passage from Tinkers (the one that got me thinking about this stuff):

He saw no reason to doubt that this shadow dreamed just as he did for the reason that he could imagine himself to be a shadow of something-someone-else and that perhaps even his sleep, his dreams, constituted his duty as a shadow of someone else and that perhaps while that someone else dreamed, he was free to live his waking life, so that this alternating interdependent series of lives formed a sort of intaglio; the waking day of each shadow was the opposite side of its possessor’s sleep.