And it is the story about another man, the late tinker's son George, who is slowly dying, in the house he built and amidst his family and all his lovingly repaired antique clocks, his entire life achievements if you will. The book deals with the relationship between a father and a son, and although Harding writes in great prose about the subject of the last days of life and impending death, in effect weaving through three generations, it is truly a comforting book, somehow giving the reader solace through knowing what a rich, life-affirming and fulfilled life the main characters enjoyed. A spiritual story told in a strong narrative voice.
As it were, Tinkers won this year's Pulitzer Prize for Fiction today, 13 April 2010.
As we get older - here a lovely poem of which most people know only the first line:
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.