Finished January 1
Enon by Paul Harding
I loved his first book Tinkers, and I wasn't the only one as it one a Pulitzer. This book follows the grandson of the protagonist of the first book George Crosby. Charlie Crosby is also a man a bit outside society. Charlie dropped out of university, and the family relies on his wife Susan, a teacher, as the main breadwinner. Charlie works on people's lawns and yard upkeep. As the book begins, their daughter Kate has just been killed in a car accident as she was bicycling home from the beach.
The novel follows Charlie as he retreats into his grief, pushing away his wife, and going into a world ruled by his grief, the pain of a hand he breaks in a fit of rage around that grief, and the drugs he comes to rely on to get by. We see Charlie as he sinks inward into madness and delusion and does things he would never have believed of himself before.
Harding is a magnificent writer and his language brings Charlie's inner world and outer descent into something we can see and feel along with him. I was moved by his sorrow, and angered by his self-pity. His delusions were brought to life through the power of words.
The story takes place in the small town in Massachusetts where Charlie grew up, raised by his mother and grandparents, Enon. As Charlie disintegrates, we see his memories of life in the town, growing up himself, and experiencing it with Kate. We come to know his surroundings, from Enon Lake to the cemetery where Kate now lies beside Charlie's mother and grandparents. We see his brief and rare interactions with others, feel how he struggles with them, his discomfort.
This is a book that I will not easily forget, and will come back to again.