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3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  1,557 ratings  ·  377 reviews
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
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Random House (first published June 7th 2012)
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It is an ominous sign when your trusted, steady flow of empathy tapers off into a reluctant drip while you were making your way around the misfortunes encountered by a fictional parent rendered newly childless. Are you being too coldly practical, perhaps, mentally asking this grief-addled father to pick up the pieces of his heart and kickstart his life like a pre-programmed cyborg? Is your work-tired brain refusing to let you feel an intense pity for this man who resorts to tripping himself up o ...more
I was blown away by this masterful plumbing of the purgatory of despair. A housepainter in a rural town in Massachusetts loses his 13-year old daughter Kate to a car accident while she was biking. His wife leaves to visit her family and never comes back. Charlie Crosby slowly works his way through his own version of the stages of grief, which felt to me like a timeless heroic quest to solve the riddle of life.

Why would anyone want to accompany this man in this painful journey. I would have to an
I didn't do it on purpose but having read Julian Barnes' Levels of Life right before this, it was as if I had a primer on grief as background for this novel. "Enon" also reinforced the idea I had from the Barnes book about the use of metaphors as perhaps the only way to describe feelings and emotions.

Harding's descriptions of what his first-person narrator sees go beyond the norm. His character sees into the very core of things, and there are quite a few objects that are symbolic of this. When h
I made an enormous tactical error in reading reviews by other people on this site prior to writing this one, because I am confronted here by people who didn't like this book because they "wanted something to happen," because "it's too inward looking," because "it's very confusing."

Well: if you are looking for a short novel in which "things happen," in which the central character isn't "too inward looking," and which isn't "confusing," then you should pass this book by and continue your search el
Jul 10, 2013 Abby rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Charlie Crosby was walking in the woods when his adored daughter Kate was hit by a car and killed while bicycling home from the beach. In short order, he suffers an additional loss and Charlie descends into a year-long alcohol- and drug-fueled stupor of grief and anguish.

“I was always restless and ill at ease, running too hot. But Kate gave my life joy. I loved her totally and while I loved her, the world was love. Once she was gone, the world seemed to prove nothing more than ruins and the smol
The quality of the writing here is outstanding. You'd be hard pressed to find a better example of how to use first person narration in an effective and believable way. But then there is the story. Enon (yes, it's None spelled backwards, symbolically) is a novella-length short story about loss, in this case the loss of a daughter. Over the period of a year, the narrator, Charlie Crosby, drifts further and further from reality as he mourns the death of his child.

Charlie is kind of a contemporary-
KJ Grow
This is a tough book to recommend, though it could very well be the best book of the year. I think this is a better book than Tinkers, and that Paul Harding deserves to win the Pulitzer Prize again for Enon.

This book will gut you, take you into some very dark and terrifying places. At its core, this it a book about grief unraveling a man to the point of near madness. At the same time, this book will dazzle you with exquisite, pure imagery and language, and it will crack open your heart to acknow
Scott Rhee
...And the award for Most Gut-Wrenchingly, Heart-Breakingly Depressing Novel of the year goes to Paul Harding's novel "Enon".

Less a novel and more of a character study in grief and utter despair, "Enon" is about a man named Charlie Crosby, whose 13-year-old daughter is killed in a car accident, and he and his wife split up soon afterwards. For the remainder of the novel, we are witness to his painful spiral into a rock-bottom suicidal melancholia, as the days tick by into weeks and months and ev
Holy run-on sentences, Batman!!

This book was not for me. I found it boring and long-winded. I got really tired of hearing about all the false worlds Charlie built up in his head after his daughter's death. I couldn't even read the book after awhile... I skimmed through huge sections (whenever he started rambling about Kate, which is all he ever did). I was looking for something to *happen*.

I'm not joking about the run-on sentences, either. Reading the Kindle version, a single sentence could spa
I should preface this review by saying that I have not read Paul Harding's novel Tinkers, a novel that was much praised and even earned him the Pulitzer Prize. Having read Harding's work back to front, then, as it were, I can only offer an opinion on Enon; while others below have situated the new novel in terms of his prior work—and most virtually unanimous in stating the follow-up is far inferior to his previous novel—I can only speak of Enon, and so of Enon I shall speak.

I am led to believe th
Harding has an amazingly broad talent for details. One can easily observe the scenes which surround his characters, whether they are of interior design or of nature's environs. Enon is the incredibly sad tale of a father's love and loss. This man's descent into hopeless grief and his subsequent deterioration are painfully spelled out in these pages. Of interest is the title of this, which of course spells "None" backwards- interesting metaphor.

I find a need to compare Harding's book, Tinkers
Diane S.
I had to argue with myself, well who better to argue with, on how to rate this book. A part of me, the part that loves beautiful prose and intense emotion wanted to give this a four, but the part that thought he wandered a little to far afield for my liking, with the main part of the story wanted to give it a three. Well, surprise, surprise I won. But now everyone knows the reason for the three stars.

At the beginning of this book, Charlie's daughter Kate is killed by a car, while crossing the s
Nothing ever causes me such consternation as the reluctant three-star rating. I sometimes worry that I give too many but to be fair, three stars is average and by very definition most books are going to be average.

But there are some books out there that I suspect I would enjoy more if I read them in a different time and place, if I were a member of different demographic, if I had different life experiences. In my former life as a bookseller, I tried very hard to remember that customers wouldn't
Just because he won a Pulitzer Prize for his first book "Tinkers," I guess Paul Harding's editors couldn't bear to tell him his second novel didn't work.
The story is about a guy named Charlie Crosby, (grandson of the narrator in Tinkers) whose 13 year-old daughter is killed on her bicycle and his wife leaves him. That's about all the plot there is. The rest of the book is Charlie wandering around, having fantasies about his daughter, slowly falling into a pit of self-abuse (drugs) and self-pity
Charlie Crosby lives in a ramshackle house in the small New England town of Enon, along with his wife, Susan, and his strong-willed 13 year old daughter, Kate, who he respects and adores immensely even though he shares none of her positive traits. He dropped out of college soon after Susan became pregnant while they were students, and his meager income as a house painter supplements the money she earns as a teacher. His relationship with Kate is far stronger than the one he shares with his wife, ...more

Enon. An abbreviation of a Latin word? A biblical name? Here it is the name of a small town in New England, home of Charlie Crosby. I have not read Tinkers, Paul Harding's Pulitzer Prize winning first novel, but Charlie is the grandson of the man who is dying in Tinkers.

The writing is exquisite. It moves along at the pace of a stroll down a country lane, always imbued with a sense of the history layered in the surroundings.

First paragraph:

"Most men in my family make widows of their wives and orp
Disclaimer. Just because I 5-star this book doesn't mean you will thank me for the recommendation and find as much to love as I did. It just seemed to speak to my personal reading preferences, so see if you have any matches before you rush out and buy the book.

First, on page one, sentence three, you learn that the protagonist, Charlie Crosby, loses his 13-year-old daughter Kate in a bike accident. Within a few dozen pages, he loses his wife, too, as she flees to her family back in Minnesota (the
Jennifer Parks
Paul Harding, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers has written a new novel titled Enon. It hits bookstores in early September, but interested readers can pre-order the book now at

While rich in its prose, Enon is one of the most depressing books I've ever read. Our protagonist, Charlie Crosby, looses his daughter in a terrible accident and it causes his entire life to unravel. For some there is a voyeuristic pleasure in observing, from a safe distance, the depravity of a lost
Will Walton
I loved the first 30 pages of this novel, which grippingly and artfully describe a married couple’s loss of their teenaged daughter in a car accident. For those few pages, the writing was raw, powerful, and full of big events. However, circa page 30, the narrator (Charlie Crosby, the grandson of the protagonist in Harding’s Pulitzer-winning Tinkers) began a tortured, lengthy po-mo analogy about his perspective compared to that of a character in a movie, and how the audience would know things tha ...more
I received a copy of Enon from The LibraryThing through the Early Reviewers program and let me start off by saying that I could not put this book down. The writing is exquisite. Paul Harding takes the reader on a roller coaster of feelings, from sadness at witnessing the tragic loss of the main character's only child, through sympathy at Charlie's attempts to lash out and cope with the crushing blow, to finally, almost embarrassment at how low he sank in the midst of his grief.

In the beginning
Jul 07, 2013 Julie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: arc
I found myself crying in at least three different times while reading this story. The tears surprised me, coming on suddenly, as I wasn't necessarily deeply saddened. I tried to brush the wetness from my face while continuing to read. I also found myself slowing down my reading and feasting on the poetic writing and use of words.
Although the story revolves around Charlie and the loss of his thirteen year old daughter, it also a story of the town and family ties rooted in this town that is so ar
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
A copy of Enon was provided to me by Random House for review purposes.

'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.'

Enon opens in tragedy. Charlie Crosby misses a life changing phone call from his wife: his only daughter has been hit by a car and died. His struggle to deal with the grief is bad enough but shortly after his wife leaves him as well. Without h
If I could give this book 10 stars, I would.
This staggering, beautiful, heartbreaking, incisive, haunting, read-in-one-sitting novel deserves every superlative in the English language because it somehow transcends the limits of that language in a way no other contemporary author comes close to doing. After Tinkers, it was hard to imagine what farther depths of emotion and consciousness Harding could mine. Enon delivers something completely otherwordly, a parable of the fiercest kind of love a p
This book, written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Paul Harding, is tragic in the purest sense of the word; but out of tragedy often comes redemption and that is truly the case with this story. Charlie Crosby is a man who seems to try hard in life but never seems to really get anywhere. After dropping out of college, Charlie returned to his hometown of Enon.. a small New England town. Charlie marries Susan, a girl from Minnesota whom he met while attending college and they have a daughter named ...more
If you are in the mood for a beautifully written heartbreaker of a novel, try Enon. The narrator, Charlie, is an ordinary guy, working as a landscaper in the small New England town where his family has lived for generations, whose only child is killed in a traffic accident. The story follows him through the first year of his almost unbearable grief and I can understand why some readers found it to be too oppressive, but for me the saving grace of the novel was in Charlie's interwoven memories of ...more
Another exquisite book by Paul Harding. Charlie goes through an Ophelia-like grief which leaves him on the brink of ruin. This book is his journey through it. Fave excerpts:

"And yet. Wouldn't my sorrows have been the greater if Kate had never been at all? Wouldn't they? Wasn't it the case that her short and happy life was the greatest joy in my own? Wasn't the joy of those thirteen years its own realm, encased now in sorrow but not breached by it? That is what I told myself. The joy of those yea
Paul Harding


Charlie Crosby's daughter...young killed while riding her bicycle. The book is about how he and his wife deal with it.

My thoughts after reading this book...

I did not ever read Tinkers...this author's amazing first book. This book...well...this really good but really really sad and just a bit maddening and frustrating. Charlie and his wife separate literally days after their daughter Kate's funeral. Sally goes back to her parents...Charlie f
I love Harding's writing. I love his old New England, his identification with the natural landscape, the limber windings of his imagination. But this book went from bleak to grim, and never surfaced from the subterranean horrors of the narrator's drug-addled grief. It was hard to stick with it. I also had trouble stomaching the angelic devotion/obsession that Charlie had for his daughter. It felt over-the-top, to the point of cheesiness.

I still love Paul Harding, and I'll read anything he write
I really loved Tinkers and I have been eagerly waiting for Enon to come in on e-reserve. I was sorely disappointed. This is not a bad book, but my expectations were high. I was also not in the mood this week for an addiction book, as my kid brother was admitted to the hospital two days ago for an overdose.

So, maybe it should be 5 stars and not 4, but I do have some legitimate complaints. First, I was very distracted by the plausibility of Susan’s departure. I get that she was suffering her own g
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Offbeat Book Review on Enon 1 3 Nov 07, 2014 02:27AM  
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  • Necessary Errors
  • The Facades
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  • The Residue Years
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Paul Harding has an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop (2000) and was a 2000–2001 Fiction Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center, in Provincetown, MA. He has published short stories in Shakepainter and The Harvard Review. Paul currently teaches creative writing at Harvard. His first novel, Tinkers, won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

More about Paul Harding...
Tinkers East Coast Australia (Lonely Planet Guide) India (Lonely Planet Country Guide) Lonely Planet South India & Kerala

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“What an awful thing then, being there in our house together with our daughter gone, trying to be equal to so many sudden orders of sorrow, any one of which alone would have wrenched us from our fragile orbits around each other.” 9 likes
“I loved her totally, and while I loved her, the world was love. Once she was gone, the world seemed to prove nothing more than ruins and the smoldering dreams of monsters.” 3 likes
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