The next novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers, in which a father’s grief over the loss of his daughter threatens to derail his life.
Powerful, brilliantly written, and deeply moving Paul Harding has, in Enon, written a worthy successor to Tinkers, a debut which John Freeman on NPR called “a masterpiece.” Drawn always to the rich landscape of his character’s inner lives, here, through the first person narrative of Charlie Crosby (grandson to George Crosby of Tinkers), Harding creates a devastating portrait of a father trying desperately to come to terms with family loss.
“I was walking in the woods, when Kate died,” and so with this profoundly sad introduction we are drawn into a story of a father imploding with grief and despair after his daughter dies in an accident. This is a beautifully written stream of consciousness/internal monologue of grief, impending madness and drug addiction that will haunt your thoughts and prick your emotions.
Harding pens a visually rich landscape of settings and emotions as we join Charlie Crosby on his trip down memory lane as he recounts and sometimes hallucinates about past times spent with his daughter and his family juxtaposed against the images of his spiral into a drug induced state of numbness. He slowly shuts down and isolates himself with only his grief as a companion. This narrative is tragic and haunting yet there are moments of absolute joy and love when Crosby reminisces about times spent with his daughter; their love shines like a beacon during the recollection of ordinary every day events – such as feeding the birds, taking a walk together, playing board games…having an ice-cream…
Harding writes beautiful prose. He writes wonderfully powerful emotive descriptions of the everyday… and of Crosby’s rapid descent into drug dependency and total despair as he attempts to deal with his grief and loss. This is a book that will engage the full spectrum of your emotions, it will take you to a place no parent ever wishes to go. A great read.