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Enonby Paul Harding
Charlie Crosby (grandson of Tinkers' George Crosby) is trying to come to terms with the death of his daughter, Kate, which he does in an unusual way. He recreates her in many different incarnations: he imagines her in a scenario, has an interaction with her, loses her again, then starts the process over and over again. Overwhelmed by grief, Charlie shuts down completely and his entire life begins to disintegrate. Before long, he is utterly broken, stuck in an abyss from which he cannot extricate himself.
Enon doesn't need the lush poetry which is so prevalent in Pulitzer-winning Tinkers; its searing subject matter really needs the raw, visceral, and vulnerable language that Harding uses here. Far from being depressing, Enon is a deeply moving character study of a man on the brink of his own personal apocalypse. It is beautiful.
Synopses & Reviews
Hailed as “a masterpiece” (NPR), Tinkers, Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize–winning debut, is a modern classic. The Dallas Morning News observed that “like Faulkner, Harding never shies away from describing what seems impossible to put into words.” Here, in Enon, Harding follows a year in the life of Charlie Crosby as he tries to come to terms with a shattering personal tragedy. Grandson of George Crosby (the protagonist of Tinkers), Charlie inhabits the same dynamic landscape of New England, its seasons mirroring his turbulent emotional odyssey. Along the way, Charlie’s encounters are brought to life by his wit, his insights into history, and his yearning to understand the big questions. A stunning mosaic of human experience, Enon affirms Paul Harding as one of the most gifted and profound writers of his generation.
"Drawing upon the same New England landscape and family as his Pulitzer Prize-winning debut Tinkers, Harding deftly captures loss and its consequences in this gorgeous and haunting follow-up. The novel opens with a grieving Charlie Crosby (grandson of Tinkers protagonist George Washington Crosby) attempting to come to terms with the death of his daughter, Kate, and the subsequent dissolution of his marriage. Although the narrative is rendered through Charlie's voice, the phenomenal prose on which Harding has staked his name comes out authentically, especially in the book's darkest and most introspective moments: 'I felt like a ghost, listless and confined, wandering in a house that had been mine a century ago, relegated to examining the details of the lives of strangers.' While the novel's first half is mired in the cyclical self-obsession and self-hatred of grief, and slows to a crawl for a few too many flashbacks, Charlie's eventual substance abuse and resulting hallucinations allow Harding to let his prose loose as he delves into the deepest aspects of loss and regret. Offering an elegiac portrait of a severed family and the town of Enon itself, Harding's second novel again proves he's a contemporary master and one of our most important writers. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group. (Sept. 10)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Harding is an extraordinary writer, for the intoxicating power of his prose, the range of his imagination, and above all for the redemptive humanity of his vision. With painstaking brilliance, Enon charts one man's attempt to salvage meaning from meaningless tragedy, to endure the ubiquitous presence of a loved one's absence. A superb account of the banality and uniqueness of bereavement, it more than earns its place alongside such non-fictional classics as Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking and CS Lewis's A Grief Observed. That Enon is a work of fiction that feels authentic as memoir makes it all the more astonishing." Rebecca Abrams, Financial Times
"An extraordinary follow-up to the author's Pulitzer Prize-winning debut . . . Harding's subject is consciousness rooted in a contemporary moment but bound to a Puritan past. His prose is steeped in a visionary, transcendentalist tradition that echoes Blake, Rilke, Emerson, and Thoreau, and makes for a darkly intoxicating read." The New Yorker
"Paul Harding's excellent second novel...is a lovely book about grief, the ways in which we punish ourselves for feeling it, and, ultimately, how we rebuild our lives even when they seem unsalvageable." New York Daily News
"Without blurring the sharply lucid nightmares and recollections, Mr. Harding pushes Charlie's madness to a crisis point of destruction or renewal. The journey to the depths of his grief is unforgettably stark and sad. But that sadness, shaped by a gifted writer's caressing attention, can also bring about moments of what Charlie calls 'brokenhearted joy.'" The Wall Street Journal
"Harding conveys the common but powerful bond of parental love with devastating accuracy....Enon confirms what the Pulitzer jury decided: Paul Harding — no longer a 'find' — is a major voice in American fiction." Chicago Tribune
"Enon is Joan Didion's Blue Nights on major meds....Time was the subject of Tinkers as grief is the subject of Enon. The two are related, like father and sons. Read Enon to live longer in the harsh, gorgeous atmosphere that Paul Harding has created." San Francisco Chronicle
"Paul Harding's novel Tinkers won the Pulitzer Prize; its stunning successor, Enon, only raises the bar." O: The Oprah Magazine
"Harding's mythic sensibility, soaring empathy for his devastated yet life-loving protagonist, comedic embrace of the absurd, and exquisite receptivity to the beauty and treachery of the living world make for one astonishingly daring, gripping, and darkly resplendent novel of all-out grief and crawling-from-the-ruins survival." Booklist (starred review)
"As Charlie's grief reaches its apex, he's consumed by dark visions, and Harding's skillful whipsawing of the reader from the surreal to the quotidian is the best writing he's done." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
About the Author
Paul Harding is the author of the novel Tinkers, which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers. He was a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Harvard University, and Grinnell College.
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