Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Enon” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  2,171 Ratings  ·  487 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Enon, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Enon

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
Sep 10, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
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
Jun 27, 2013 James rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 17, 2013 Teresa rated it really liked it
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
Feb 18, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it
What does a man do when the sun goes out of his life, when personal loss undoes his world and his self? He is literally thrown out of his normal existence by grief, living in a demi-monde of past and present, history and pre-history, fact and fairy tale, wishes and lies. Charlie Crosby lives that horror in the pages of Enon and Enon is the New England village where Crosbys have lived for two centuries while the area itself has a four hundred year history of settlement. And Charlie ruminates on s ...more
Jun 08, 2013 Abby rated it really liked it
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
KJ Grow
May 03, 2013 KJ Grow rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 17, 2013 S rated it did not like it
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
Evan Leach
Paul Harding won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2009 debut novel, Tinkers. In Enon, Harding keeps his focus on the Crosby family that was the subject of Tinkers, but shifts attention down to George Crosby’s grandson and great-granddaughter.

While the central character in Tinkers spends the majority of the novel on his deathbed reminiscing about the past, that still managed to come across as a positive, life-affirming book. Harding is exploring much darker terrain here. It’s no spoiler to say that th
Sep 12, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it

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
Apr 18, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, arc-egalley
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
Scott Rhee
Jul 28, 2014 Scott Rhee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: death-grieving
...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
Nov 06, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ☔
Sep 06, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
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
Jan 01, 2014 Ken rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 05, 2013 Darryl rated it it was ok
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
Nov 18, 2013 Jean rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-fiction
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
Jun 11, 2013 Jenni rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
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
Oct 23, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it
The language is beautiful, but at times this book is painful to read. Watching someone fall apart after the death of their child is difficult, but Mr. Harding captured how one feels when they lose a child better than anyone I have read since losing my daughter three years ago.
Will Walton
Jun 06, 2013 Will Walton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, must-reads
May 08, 2013 Hilary rated it it was ok
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
Jul 04, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it
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
Mar 13, 2012 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't wait to read Harding's second book. Here's a snippet that Teresa found. Towards the end he talks a little about "Enon":

7-14-13 Update: It will be published this September.

Review to follow but as with 'tinkers' as soon as I finished 'enon' I wanted to go back and reread it. Harding has an incredibly unique voice yet I kept floundering around thinking of comparisons. For some reason I
Mary Jo Malo
Apr 16, 2015 Mary Jo Malo rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, poetic, and stunning for its depth of imagination and pathos. A father loses his only child and journeys through a drug and alcohol fueled purgatory. Told through his narrative soliloquy, Charlie Crosby embroiders his New England ancestors' world, all their dead beneath his feet with his precious daughter's life into a Thanatopsis ambiguously secular and spiritual.
Roger Brunyate
Jul 21, 2016 Roger Brunyate rated it it was ok
Shelves: place-portraits
Elegant Devastation
Most men in my family make widows of their wives and orphans of their children. I am the exception. My only child, Kate, was struck and killed by a car while riding her bicycle home from the beach one afternoon in September, a year ago. She was thirteen. My wife, Susan, and I separated soon afterward.
An elegant and devastating opening. As prelude to the account of a man almost throwing away his life out of grief for his dead daughter, it is magnificent. But I have two proble
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
Joanne  Clarke Gunter
Jun 24, 2013 Joanne Clarke Gunter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-fiction
I just finished "Enon" and even though I thought it when I read "Tinkers" I am even more convinced of it now: Paul Harding is the best literary fiction writer in this country and one of the best ever. I am floored by his mastery, his skill, and his vast ability to paint beautiful pictures of emotion with words. There is no writer I have read who captures grief and sorrow as Paul Harding does. My tears fell onto the pages of this book more than once and not just because the subject of this novel ...more
Julie Salinas
Jun 29, 2013 Julie Salinas rated it it was amazing
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Offbeat Book Review on Enon 1 3 Nov 06, 2014 06:27PM  
  • Traveling Sprinkler
  • Sparta
  • The Affairs of Others
  • The Facades
  • The Residue Years
  • The Book of Someday
  • Necessary Errors
  • All Days Are Night
  • The Measures Between Us
  • Dissident Gardens
  • The Two Hotel Francforts
  • Nine Inches: Stories
  • Donny and Ursula Save the World
  • The Correspondence of Shelby Foote and Walker Percy
  • The Maid's Version
  • Dirty Love
  • Return to Oakpine
  • Mr Lynch's Holiday
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...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“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.” 10 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
More quotes…