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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review: 'Enon'

©2013 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Books Reviews

ENONBy Paul Harding
Literary Fiction
September 2013
Random House
ISBN: 978-1400069439

Paul Harding's first novel, Tinkers, appeared to have captured lightning. It was a small book published by a small press. It was the story of an old man dying in his living room, thinking of his family who came before and who followed him. It also was a brilliant, eloquent, poetic, unflinching look at love, family and flawed human beings who deserve admiration and forgiveness. It won the Putlizer in one of those instances where the winner honored the award.

Harding's second novel mines similar territory and, similarly, captures lightning. Charlie Crosby is the grandson of George Crosby from Tinkers. He has suffered the tragedy of Kate, his young daughter, dying when her bicycle is struck by a distracted mom chauffering her own children. Charlie knows he is sinking into oblivion but he is too filled with despair to change.

The year following his daughter's death is a portrait of relentless grief. No matter where his mind may wander -- remembering times spent with his beloved grandfather or adored daughter -- Charlie always comes crashing back to the realization that Kate is gone. Not even the painkillers and booze keep that knowledge at bay for long.

There is a quietness in Harding's beautiful prose that permeates this study of a New Englander who loves his hometown nearly as much as he loves his daughter. That quietness, that underlying awareness that knowledge and strength can come to those who persevere, help turn this portrait of sorrow into one of the fullness of life.

©2013 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Books Reviews and reprinted with permission

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