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3.37  ·  Rating details ·  2,542 ratings  ·  541 reviews
A stunning mosaic of human experience, Enon affirms Paul Harding as one of the most gifted and profound writers of his generation.

Hailed as "a masterpiece" (NPR), Tinkers, Paul Harding's Pulitzer Prize–winning debut, is a modern classic. The Dallas Morning News observed that "like Faulkner, Harding never shies away from describing what seems impossible to put into words."
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Random House (first published June 7th 2013)
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Average rating 3.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,542 ratings  ·  541 reviews

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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
Sep 10, 2013 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 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 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 Julian 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. W
Jun 08, 2013 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
Feb 18, 2013 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
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This novel,Enon 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 ...more
KJ Grow
May 03, 2013 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
Roger Brunyate
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
Nov 17, 2013 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
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Enon is a painfully beautiful novel about the depth of a father's love and grief over the loss of his daughter. It is the second novel by Paul Harding whose debut novel, Tinkers, clinched the Putlizer Prize for Fiction in 2010.

Charlie Crosby's 13-year-old daughter, Kate, was killed by a car while riding her bike to the beach. Her sudden death shattered Charlie's world, ended his marriage, and plunged him into a miry bog of despair and self-abandonment. Charlie and his wife had a decent marriage
Feb 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved Tinkers but Enon, the sequel, misses the mark.

Enon follows a grieving dad fighting substance addiction after he loses his daughter in a bike accident. The book is written in the 1st person and the writing style is not in sync with the devastation of losing a daughter. There are few people that Charlie interacts with as time moves on, going more than a month without speaking to another person. There are no plot twists in this novel, it was just a little too sad and personal for my liking.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was ok

I tried. Really, I did. I thought it might be interesting to watch this tragedy unfold. However, this got way out of hand. I'm fine with hallucinations (being a nerd about psychedelic science), but the hallucinations in this book took up way too much of the time, and Charlie wasn't growing at all in between.

The writing was beautiful in places, but much too flowery in others. Scale it back, Paul Harding, scale it back.
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 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
Jessica Jeffers
Apr 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
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 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 18, 2013 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
Nov 06, 2013 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 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 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 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
Jennifer Stephens
Jun 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed, fiction
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 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.
May 08, 2013 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 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 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
Angela M
Sep 06, 2013 rated it liked it
The worst thing that can happen to parents happens to Charlie and Susan Crosby when their 13 year daughter Kate is killed in an accident. The depths of despair and depression that Charlie suffers makes this such an emotional read. In spite of feeling so sorry for Charlie , I just never could really connect with him . It's also impossible to connect with Susan who leaves Charlie , right after the funeral. There are a few bright spots with flash backs of times with Kate.
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Fiction - Girl dies in bike accident, father mourns. [s] 3 26 May 09, 2018 06:19AM  
Offbeat Book Review on Enon 1 3 Nov 06, 2014 06:27PM  

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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.

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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.” 11 likes
“But it's a curse, a condemnation, like an act of provocation, to have been aroused from not being, to have been conjured up from a clot of dirt and hay and lit on fire and sent stumbling among the rocks and bones of this ruthless earth to weep and worry and wreak havoc and ponder little more than the impending return to oblivion, to invent hopes that are as elaborate as they are fraudulent and poorly constructed, and that burn off the moment they are dedicated, if not before, and are at best only true as we invent them for ourselves or tell them to others, around a fire, in a hovel, while we all freeze or starve or plot or contemplate treachery or betrayal or murder or despair of love, or make daughters and elaborately rejoice in them so that when they are cut down even more despair can be wrung from our hearts, which prove only to have been made for the purpose of being broken. And worse still, because broken hearts continue beating.” 5 likes
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