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Paul Harding Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Paul Harding
Paul Harding was born December 19, 1967. He grew up on the north shore of Boston in the town of Wenham. While he was a youth, he spent a lot of his time knocking about in the woods, which he attributes to his love of nature.

His grandpa fixed clocks and Paul apprenticed under him, which is an experience that found its way into his first novel.

He has a BA in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a 2000-01 Fiction Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center, in Provincetown, MA. Paul has taught writing at the University of Iowa and Harvard University.

After he graduated from the University of Massachusetts, he spent a lot of time touring with Cold Water Flat, his band, in Europe and the US. He played drums for the group throughout its existence from 1990 until 1996. Paul admires jazz drummers and believes Elvin Jones (drummer for John Coltrane) to be the greatest.

He’d always been an avid reader, and he realized writing is what he wanted to do while reading “Terra Nostra” by Carlos Fuentes. In this novel, he saw the whole world, and all of history.

When he had time off from touring with his band he signed up for this summer writing class at Skidmore College in New York. Marilynne Robinson was his teacher and through her he learned about the Iowa Writers’ Workshop writing program. There he studied with Elizabeth McCracken, Barry Unsworth, and later Robinson. At some point, he realized that some of the people that he admired the most were profoundly religious, which made him spend years reading theology and was influenced deeply by John Calvin and Karl Barth. He considers himself to be a self-taught modern New England transcendentalist.

Paul has published short stories in The Harvard Review and Shakepainter.

“Tinkers” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2009. There is an old man laying dying. Confined just to his bed in his living room, he sees the walls all around him start to collapse, the windows come loose from their sashes, and the ceiling plaster fall off in these great chunks, showering him with a whole lifetime of debris: old photographs, rusty tools, newspaper clippings, wool jackets, and the mangled brass works of many antique clocks. Before long, the clouds from the sky up above him plummet down on top of him, followed by the stars, until the black night has covered him like a shroud. He is just hallucinating, in death throes from kidney failure and cancer.

A methodical clock repairer, he has now finally been released from the typical constraints of time and memory so he can now rejoin his dad, who is an itinerant and epileptic peddler, whom he lost seven decades prior. In his return to the pain and wonder of his impoverished childhood in the backwoods of Maine, he recovers this natural world which is both indifferent to man and inseparable from him, awe inspiring and menacing.

Life affirming and heartbreaking, this is an elegiac meditation on loss, love, and the fierce beauty of nature.

“Tinkers” won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2010, was an American Library Association Notable Book, and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize among other honors.

Readers found this to be a truly remarkable novel that sustains and achieves this unique fusion of perception and language. Its fine touch plays over the textured richness of very modest lives, evoking over and over this frisson of deep recognition, a sense of primal encounter with the elusive and brilliant world of the senses. It confers on us the reader the best privilege fiction is able to afford, the illusion of ghostly proximity to other human souls. This is a novel you’re going to want to savor, as fans of the book found this book to a very moving experience.

“Enon” is the second stand alone novel and was released in 2013. Paul follows one year in Charlie Crosby’s life while he tries to come to terms with this shattering personal tragedy. Grandson of George Crosby (the protagonist of “Tinkers”), Charlie inhabits the same exact dynamic landscape of New England, with its seasons mirroring his turbulent emotional odyssey.

Along the way, Charlie’s encounters get brought to life by his wit, his insights into history, and his yearning to comprehend some of the big questions in life. This is a stunning of human experience, “Enon” affirms Paul as one of the most profound and gifted writers of his generation.

Fans found this to be a steady handed exploration of heart wrenching and profound grief, which was written by somebody that has thought through the details of heartache and suffering unlike anybody else before now. If you are looking for writing which will move you and make you think about the fragility of our lives, and how each and every day we spend with those we love is a treasure beyond price, then this is the book for you.

“This Other Eden” is the third stand alone novel and was released in 2023. A novel that was inspired by the true story of the formerly racially integrated Malaga Island just off the coast of Maine.

In 1792, Benjamin Honey (formerly enslaved) and Patience (his Irish wife), found this island where they could make their life together. Over a century later, the Honeys’ descendants have remained there, with this diverse and eccentric group of neighbors: a couple of sisters raising three Penobscot orphans: Candace and Theophilus Larks and their natural brood; the prophetic Zachary Hand to God Proverbs, this Civil War veteran that carves Biblical images into this hollow tree.

Then comes the intrusion of “civilization”: some eugenics minded state officials that are determined to cleanse the island, and this missionary schoolteacher picks a light-skinned child to save. The rest are going to succumb to the authorities’ institutions or cast themselves on the waters in a new Noah’s Ark.

Filled with power and lyricism, this novel explores the dreams and hopes and resilience of those that aren’t seen to fit a world brutally intolerant of difference.

“This Other Eden” was shortlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction 2023 and the Booker Prize 2023.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Paul Harding

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