cover image Enon


Paul Harding. Random House, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6943-9

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)