208 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $17.99
ISBN: 9781942658603


ISBN: 9781942658610

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“A powerful celebration of life in which a New England father and son, through suffering and joy, transcend their imprisoning lives and offer new ways of perceiving the world and mortality.”

Pulitzer Prize citation

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“An exquisite novel . . . told with a voice so keen and beautiful as to leave the reader in a state of excitement produced only by literature, and the best literature at that.”

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize judges’ citation

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“In this lyrical novel, the life of a dying man is examined through the smallest moments of time and memory.”

American Library Association Notable Book citation

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“[Tinkers is a novel] we hear customers hand-selling to other readers in that you’ve-got-to-read-this voice. The protagonist’s deathbed memories of his father are a meditation on life and death, written in impeccably lovely prose. Tinkers is incomparable.”

Indie Next List for Reading Groups citation by Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA

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“An exquisitely written novel that captures the mysteries of relationships, memories and time passing in language that is both spare and lyrical. It is a true gem that sparkles with thoughtfulness, intelligence and life.”

New Hampshire State Library, International DUBLIN Literary Award Longlist citation

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“There are few perfect debut American novels. . . . To this list ought to be added Paul Harding’s devastating first book, Tinkers. . . . Harding has written a masterpiece.”

NPR Best Debut Fiction of the Year citation

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“A novel with an old-­fashioned meditative quality so perfectly done that it is refreshing to read in a world filled with noises and false excitements. . . . It brings the reader to a closer understand­ing of his own life than he could have imagined before taking the journey.”

Granta Best Books of the Year citation

“Quiet, moving, breathtakingly crafted.”

Library Journal Best Books of the Year citation

“This compact, adamantine debut dips in and out of the consciousness of a New England patriarch. . . . In Harding’s skillful evocation, Crosby’s life, seen from its final moments, becomes a mosaic of memories.”

New Yorker

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“Alive with gorgeous sentences.”


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“[An] astonishing novel.”

Los Angeles Times

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“In Paul Harding’s stunning first novel, we find what readers, writ­ers and reviewers live for.”

San Francisco Chronicle

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Tinkers is a poignant exploration of where we may journey when the clock has barely a tick or two left and we really can’t go any­where at all.”

Boston Globe

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“Few contemporary writers have [Harding’s] gift for uniting language and nature through a powerful imagination. Tinkers is a father-son story told with skill, depth and beauty.”

Concord Monitor

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“The life and death questions Paul Harding raises in Tinkers, as well as the richness of his writing, keep a reader coming back to it. . . . Like Faulkner, he never shies away from describing what seems impossible to put into words.”

Dallas Morning News 

“Vivid and original. . . . Tinkers [is] going to be around for a long, long time.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“This beautiful novel is sui generis; the most insignificant events . . . radiate fire and light.”

Star Tribune

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“Stunning. . . . Harding, who apprenticed with his horologist grandfather, uses the clock as a metaphor for the cosmos and its deeper intricacies and mysteries.”


“This is a book so meticulously assembled that vocabulary choices like ‘craquelure’ and ‘scrieved’—far from seeming pretentious—serve as reminders of how precise and powerful a tool good English can be.”

Christian Science Monitor

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“Tantalizing. . . . Tinkers takes an uncompromising look at the complex emotional geometry that exists between parents and children.”

London Review of Books

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“The most captivating exploration of history, time and human consciousness. . . . An expert piece of historical and psychological archaeology, which unpicks the (bewitching) intricacies of ordinary life while also asking the terrifying, unanswerable, yet endlessly fascinating questions that haunt us all.”


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“Among the many triumphs of this novel, Harding enables a reader to look at the world differently.”


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“Sometimes a novel beguiles from the opening sentence. Paul Harding’s seductive Pulitzer-winning debut does precisely that [and] the prism of an entire world emerges. . . . The story and the stories within it flow like water over stones.”

Irish Times

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“Harding is a first-rate writer, and his fascination with what makes his characters tick recommends him as a philosopher, as well.”

Time Out Chicago

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“Unique, captivating, and a measure more magical than most other contemporary novels.”


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“A luminous novel . . . that is not about death but instead an investi­gation into what life is all about. . . . The precipice is what Harding is so concentrated on, as though he were holding a magnifying glass up under bright sunlight and setting fire to the page.”

Quarterly Conversation 

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“This excellent debut proves Harding to be a writer of exceptional poise, possessing clear-eyed skill and, like his characters, a steady hand for the finest of details.”


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“Writing with breathtaking lyricism and tenderness, Harding has created a rare and beautiful novel of spiritual inheritance and acute psychological and metaphysical suspense.”

Booklist (starred review)

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“Outstanding. . . . The real star is Harding’s language, which dazzles whether he’s describing the workings of clocks, sensory images of nature, the many engaging side characters who populate the book, or even a short passage on how to build a bird nest. This is an especially gorgeous example of novelistic craftsmanship.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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“Filled with lovely Whitmanesque descriptions of the natural world, this slim novel gives shape to the extraordinary variety in the thoughts of otherwise ordinary men.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“A novel that you’ll want to savor. . . . I found reading it to be an incredibly moving experience. . . . This book begs to be read aloud.”

Nancy Pearl, KUOW.org

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“A complex reflection on memory, consciousness, and the meaning of life.”

Diane Rehm, Diane Rehm Show “Readers’ Review” Book Club

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“Paul Harding’s Tinkers is not just a novel—though it is a brilliant novel. It’s an instruction manual on how to look at nearly everything. Harding takes the back off to show you the miraculous ticking of the natural world, the world of clocks, generations of family, an epileptic brain, the human soul. In astounding language sometimes seemingly struck by lightning, sometimes as tight and complicated as clockwork, Harding shows how enormous fiction can be, and how economical. Read this book and marvel.”

Elizabeth McCracken, author of Thunderstruck and Bowlaway

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, author of Gilead and What Are We Doing Here?

“A work of great power and originality. There is a striking freedom of style here, which allows the author to move without any sense of strain or loss of balance from the visionary and ecstatic to the exquisitely precise. The novel is compelling to read, sometimes horrific, and deeply moving because it is woven together into the single quilt of our humanity.”

Barry Unsworth, author of Sacred Hunger and The Quality of Mercy

Special edition featuring a new foreword by Marilynne Robinson and book club extras inside

In this deluxe tenth anniversary edition, Marilynne Robinson introduces the beautiful novel Tinkers, which begins with an old man who lies dying. As time collapses into memory, he travels deep into his past, where he is reunited with his father and relives the wonder and pain of his impoverished New England youth. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, Tinkers is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.

The story behind this New York Times bestselling debut novel—the first independently published Pulitzer Prize winner since A Confederacy of Dunces received the award nearly thirty years before—is as extraordinary as the elegant prose within it. Inspired by his family’s history, Paul Harding began writing Tinkers when his rock band broke up. Following numerous rejections from large publishers, Harding was about to shelve the manuscript when Bellevue Literary Press offered a contract. After being accepted by BLP, but before it was even published, the novel developed a following among independent booksellers from coast to coast. Readers and critics soon fell in love, and it went on to receive the Pulitzer Prize, prompting the New York Times to declare the novel’s remarkable success “the most dramatic literary Cinderella story of recent memory.”

That story is still being written as readers across the country continue to discover this modern classic, which has now sold over half a million copies, proving once again that great literature has a thriving and passionate audience.

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize Winner

New York Times Bestseller

Additional Accolades

American Library Association Notable Book * American Booksellers Association Indie Next List, Indies Choice Honor Award, and Indie Next List for Reading Groups * International DUBLIN Literary Award Longlist * Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction Finalist * Center For Fiction First Novel Prize Finalist

Named One of the Best Novels of the Year by

NPR * New Yorker * San Francisco Chronicle * Christian Science Monitor * Irish Times * Granta * Publishers Weekly * Library Journal * Barnes & Noble * Amazon.com

Excerpt from Tinkers

The tenth anniversary edition of Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel Tinkers is an Indie Next List for Reading Groups selection! Discover more about the independent booksellers and other literary champions who “made Tinkers happen” in Bookselling This Week.

Paul Harding shares his reflections about Tinkers and its extraordinary backstory with New York magazine’s Vulture and at the Literary Hub, and discusses writing about God and faith on the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast.

The Pulitzer Prizes commemorates the tenth anniversary of Tinkers with author Paul Harding’s exclusive introduction to the opening pages of the novel.

Tinkers Turns 10—And Stays Remarkable” Publishers Weekly celebrates the tenth anniversary edition of Paul Harding’s Tinkers and Shelf Awareness “rediscovers” the novel.

Read an in-depth interview with Paul Harding about his work at the Millions and listen to Christopher Lydon’s interviews with him about Tinkers and Enon on WBUR Open Source.

Watch Paul Harding discuss the story behind Tinkers on PBS NewsHour.

Listen to Paul Harding and BLP publisher Erika Goldman discuss the Pulitzer Prize win on NPR Weekend Edition.

Read about the dramatic Tinkers “Cinderella story” in the New York Times and elsewhere.

Listen to Paul Harding read from Tinkers on KQED Writers’ Block.

Tune in to the Diane Rehm Show “Readers’ Review” book club discussion about Tinkers.