Tinkers is a short book, but irritated me in a way that usually takes a longer book to do. I wanted to like it because I liked the idea of a dark horse Pulitzer winner, but it didn't do anything for me. I can't write an impartial, third person review, because the reasons I didn't like the book are more personal.
First, I wasn't absorbed by the story. George Crosby is dying and recollecting his life. It could be an interesting life the way a seemingly ordinary marriage and career (as a clock fixer) can be made fascinating in a good novel. But I never felt engaged with his story.
Second, the story confused me. George remembers his own life, but he also remembers the lives of his father and grandfather as if he was those men, not just remembering what he had learned about them. The narrative moves among the lives of the three men indiscriminately. It was hard to know which story was happening when. Some scenes are so obscure I could not understand if they were descriptions of events or deathbed imaginings.
Finally, I didn't like George. He cheats his clock customers. He isn't very nice to his family. He has charming moments, but I never warmed to him.
There were bits and pieces I enjoyed – little glimmers of humor, scenes that were clever, a few endearing family moments. But overall, the book rubbed me the wrong way.
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Tinkers counts as one of my two Pulitzer picks for the Battle of the Prizes, American Version. It also counts as one of my books for the Audio-Book Challenge.
We read this for my book club. The opinions were somewhat mixed, although most people didn't care for it.