Tinkers, Paul Harding.
(NY, Bellevue Literary Press, 2009).
Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
“An old man lies dying. Confined to bed in his living room, he sees the walls around him begin to collapse, the windows come loose from their sashes, and the ceiling plaster fall off in great chunks, showering him with a lifetime of debris: newspaper clippings, old photographs, wool jackets, rusty tools, and the mangled brass works of antique clocks. Soon, the clouds from the sky above plummet down on top of him, followed by the stars, till the black night covers him like a shroud. He is hallucinating, in death throes from cancer and kidney failure. A methodical repairer of clocks, he is now finally released from the usual constraints of time and memory to rejoin his father, an epileptic, itinerant peddler, whom he had lost seven decades before. In his return to the wonder and pain of his impoverished childhood in the backwoods of Maine, he recovers a natural world that is at once indifferent to man and inseparable from him, menacing and awe inspiring. Heartbreaking and life affirming, Tinkers is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.” [Hyraxia]
Apparently, Harding had a hard time getting this book published. It was rejected several times before Bellevue Literary Press nabbed it. The first print run was no more than 5,000 copies (in paperback). There was also a limited edition Hard cover run (of 1,000) printed for Book Passage (a San Fran book store that offers club members signed first editions). Yet another limited edition of 750 hard covers was printed for Powell's (although, good luck finding any).