And then there are debut novels that are almost perfect.
I do not know whether it is the genre or really the writing skill at the sentence and paragraph level, Harding’s tinkers is so much better written than the other debut novels that I have read recently that it makes me wonder why I have read them at all.
The length of tinkers is also just about right. On the other hand, I could have done without the fake encyclopedia-like interruptions. Sometimes it was also hard to remember whether it is now father or son Harding is writing about (I have read the novel in many small parts during my trips to the office, etc.). Yet, this feels right as well. The two generations, though different, share many characteristics. Why shouldn’t their stories blend with each other to be one?
I understand that tinkers is in no way innovative. The theme, death and random flashbacks, is not new. Father and son parallels are also not new. The literary style, the randomness, the digressions, and yes, the fake encyclopedia entries, are nothing new. Yet, it works.