Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Harding returns to the world of Tinker with Enon

This article is from 2013

Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Harding returns to the world of Tinker with Enon

Harding will discuss the new adventures of Tinker's Charlie Crosby at the EIBF 2013

Paul Harding won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his debut novel Tinkers. This year he visits Edinburgh to discuss his latest book, Enon, which is narrated by Charlie Crosby, a relative of the dying protagonist in Tinkers. Charlie is also grieving for a life lost: that of his beloved daughter Kate, who is killed in a car accident at the beginning of the novel.

‘I thought I had a kind of thrilling ghost story on my hands,’ says Harding. ‘I did, it turns out, but a wholly darker, more tragic sort than I first imagined. The book turned into a lamentation, a prayer, a dark psalm.’

Both novels follow characters trying to make sense of their identities and of the importance of the past. Like Tinkers, Enon uses the memories and dreams of the characters so effectively that they provide an often disturbing intimacy between the reader and character. ‘Things like dreams and memories and hallucinations come naturally, since they are functions of consciousness, of experience, which are for me the hallmarks of character.’

Nature too plays an important role in Harding’s writing. ‘Personally, I love pastoral writing, writing that is deeply embedded in landscape. I don’t write about landscapes per se, though. I use them as raw, objective material for experience. I pass landscape, through the protagonist’s consciousness and the angle of refraction, so to speak, becomes character itself.’

‘As disturbing as the book may be, it is still meant to be affirmative, still meant to say “yes” to this world.’ However fixated on death Enon is, there is life in Harding’s writing, a poetic celebration of the things that keep us going.

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 3735888, 26 Aug, 8.30pm, £7 (£5).

Stuart Evers & Paul Harding

Paul Harding’s debut novel, Tinkers, won him a Pulitzer in 2010 and today the Marilynne Robinson-tutored US author unveils his much-anticipated second book, Enon. Set in the Massachusetts town where the hero of Tinkers dies, Enon confirms Harding as a star of US fiction. Alongside him is the ‘smoking hot’ Stuart Evers…

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