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Enon: A Novel (Ala Notable Books for Adults) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 10, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Ala Notable Books for Adults
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400069432
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400069439
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #696,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Harding, a writer preternaturally attuned to the spiraling of time and consciousness, continues the Crosby family story begun in his Pulitzer Prize–winning first novel, Tinkers (2009). Charlie was a solitary boy resistant to the confines of school, ecstatic in nature, and happy in the company of his clock-restorer grandfather, George Crosby. As a husband and father, Charlie loves to read, walk along the Enon River, study the long history of his Massachusetts village, and, best of all, share his passions with his receptive young daughter, Kate. Now all is lost in the shocking tragedy that propels this surreal, apocalyptic odyssey of grief. Writing with ferocious lyricism and macabre vision, Harding lures us deep into Charlie’s memory and dreams, pain and desolation. Over a full cycle of New England seasons, Charlie, afflicted with the self-imposed stigmata of a broken hand and adrift in opiate-induced altered states, descends into squalor, inept criminality, and the terrors of the underworld, enacting his own private dire rituals of mortification and sorrow. Harding’s mythic sensibility, soaring empathy for his devastated yet life-loving protagonist, comedic embrace of the absurd, and exquisite receptivity to the beauty and treachery of the living world make for one astonishingly daring, gripping, and darkly resplendent novel of all-out grief and crawling-from-the-ruins survival. --Donna Seaman

Review

“Harding conveys the common but powerful bond of parental love with devastating accuracy. . . . Enon confirms what the Pulitzer jury decided: Paul Harding—no longer a ‘find’—is a major voice in American fiction.”Chicago Tribune
 
“Paul Harding’s novel Tinkers won the Pulitzer Prize; its stunning successor, Enon, only raises the bar.”O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“An extraordinary follow-up to the author’s Pulitzer Prize–winning debut . . . Harding’s subject is consciousness rooted in a contemporary moment but bound to a Puritan past. His prose is steeped in a visionary, transcendentalist tradition that echoes Blake, Rilke, Emerson, and Thoreau, and makes for a darkly intoxicating read.”The New Yorker
 
“So wild and riveting it’s practically an aria . . . Harding is a superb stylist.”Entertainment Weekly

“Without blurring the sharply lucid nightmares and recollections, Mr. Harding pushes Charlie’s madness to a crisis point of destruction or renewal. The journey to the depths of his grief is unforgettably stark and sad. But that sadness, shaped by a gifted writer’s caressing attention, can also bring about moments of what Charlie calls ‘brokenhearted joy.’”The Wall Street Journal
 
“Harding is an extraordinary writer, for the intoxicating power of his prose, the range of his imagination, and above all for the redemptive humanity of his vision. With painstaking brilliance, Enon charts one man’s attempt to salvage meaning from meaningless tragedy, to endure the ubiquitous presence of a loved one’s absence. A superb account of the banality and uniqueness of bereavement, it more than earns its place alongside such non-fictional classics as Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and CS Lewis’s A Grief Observed. That Enon is a work of fiction that feels authentic as memoir makes it all the more astonishing.”—Rebecca Abrams, Financial Times
 
Enon is Joan Didion’s Blue Nights on major meds. . . . Time was the subject of Tinkers as grief is the subject of Enon. The two are related, like father and sons. Read Enon to live longer in the harsh, gorgeous atmosphere that Paul Harding has created.”San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Paul Harding’s excellent second novel . . . is a lovely book about grief, the ways in which we punish ourselves for feeling it, and, ultimately, how we rebuild our lives even when they seem unsalvageable.”—New York Daily News
 
“Harding’s mythic sensibility, soaring empathy for his devastated yet life-loving protagonist, comedic embrace of the absurd, and exquisite receptivity to the beauty and treachery of the living world make for one astonishingly daring, gripping, and darkly resplendent novel of all-out grief and crawling-from-the-ruins survival.”Booklist (starred review)
 
“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. . . . 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.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“As Charlie’s grief reaches its apex, he’s consumed by dark visions, and Harding’s skillful whipsawing of the reader from the surreal to the quotidian is the best writing he’s done.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

More About the Author

Paul Harding has an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He lives in Georgetown, Massachusetts. He is the recipient of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in fiction for 'Tinkers.'

Customer Reviews

"Enon" is beautifully written, with descriptions of scenes that bring them to life on the page.
E. Burian-Mohr
His journey through this pain, the empathy you feel reading Charlie's story, gives you full insight into the personal life of one human being.
Daring Di
Yes, the prose is beautiful and evocative but there isn't much of a plot going on and what is there is really just sad and depressing.
Anonymous

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Paul Harding is one of the more exquisite writers I have read. His book opens each word like a rose. Each word is precisely placed and thought about before it becomes the written word. Paul Harding gives us the most sublime reading, filled with the words and feelings of deep grief. Grief that had to be shared, to be exposed. Deep, wrenching, gut filled grief. Tears came at the loss the author wrote. I hope to never feel this grief again, once was enough.

Charlie lives in Massachusetts, on the North Shore, loves the woods, the birds, the fresh air filled with lush smells. On this day he is walking, wishing his daughter, Kate, was with him, but she wanted to go to the beach with friends. As he arrives at his car, it starts raining and he listens to he messages on his cell phone. His wife has called, and the message she leaves is like no other, "Charlie, Kate is dead. She was hit by a car while riding her bike, come home, immediately!" And, it all goes downhill from here. Tragedy, misery, sleepless nights and days. His wife and her large family from Minnesota, take up some time, but then family leaves. Charlie spends all his time on the couch, in such a profound grief, he cannot move. Once he does move, another incident occurs, and Charlie is without a base. He is a man without a rudder. We go with him into his days and nights. The only thing that keeps this book from becoming one of the most depressing of books is the prose. It is filled with vitality and kept me on track. This is not a book for the faint of heart. I found myself putting the book down, only to pick it back up.

Life goes on, but we don't realize this. It is the day to day life, plodding on, what is the alternative? Paul Harding is a superb writer. Grief needs to be shared and each one of us who continue with 'Enon' (None, spelled backwards) share this grief. I hope it is enough.

Recommended. prisrob 08-02-13
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on November 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Paul Harding displays the power of his prose in the opening pages of Enon, as Charlie Crosby recalls the death of his daughter. The understated, deeply affecting descriptions of grief set the scene for the life that follows. Charlie blames himself for letting his daughter take the bike ride that ended in a collision with a car. After Charlie's marriage disintegrates, he becomes "a maker of dismal days." He spends them wandering the town of Enon, recalling the sweetness of the family life he has lost, seeing his daughter at different ages when he gazes at the town's children. As the months pass, he moves "deeper into the shade, further toward the border between this life and what lies outside it." He is embarrassed by his weakness, his inability to resolve his sense of loss. He has always believed that "life is not something we are forced to endure, but rather something in which we are blessed to be allowed to participate," but now he feels no gratitude for a life that "felt like nothing more than a distillation of sorrow and anger." He wants to believe that the joy of his daughter's life had its own integrity, that his life is better for having shared his daughter's life, but he measures his grief by the loss of that joy. Abuse of alcohol and pills heightens his condemnation of his failure of character.

While Enon is largely an internal monologue, it features richly developed minor characters: a cemetery caretaker who seems like "an archaic military experiment gone awry"; an elderly woman who fearlessly races down an icy hill on a sled; a poorly paid clerk who pines for his family in India while he spends his Sundays working at a convenience store. It is also a novel of place, the place being Enon, where Crosbys have lived since 1840.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. JEFFREY MCMAHON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Immediately upon reading Paul Harding's novel Enon, I could see that I was in the hands of a topnotch writer, a person who scours his prose of any ornamentation and affectation. His writing, always concrete, vivid and earthy, reminds me a lot of one of my favorite writers Jim Harrison, who has published many books which consist of three novellas. I mention this because at close to 240 pages Enon is way too long for the subject matter and plotline: One rainy day in September in New England, the narrator Charlie Crosby is in his car when his wife Susan tells him that their daughter Kate has just been hit by a car and killed on her bicycle. Soon after, Charlie's marriage dissolves and he descends into a bottomless pit of painkiller and alcohol-fueled grief, self-pity, dissolution, dishevelment, disconnection, and solipsism and becomes a walking corpse.

This simple, often fatiguing plotline is expanded by interspersing his narrative descent with flashbacks, mostly between him and his daughter. The end result is a novel that is stagnant, lacks character interest, and screams short story, novella at the very longest. So while I have the highest admiration for Paul Harding's prose, I will have to wait and see if he can solve some of the problems evident in this book.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Barrett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Paul Harding exploded onto the literary scene with his first (short) novel, Tinkers. I was one of the first few to read that novel and was not surprised when Harding was awarded the Pulitzer prize. Enon is his second novel. It is set in Massachusetts (Harding's home state), though I believe Enon is fictitious (not sure).

The novel starts off with a bang. Charlie's daughter Kate is struck and killed by a car while visiting the lake with friends. Charlie is out hiking and so hears about the accident via his voicemail. In the first chapter, Harding comes dangerously close to minutiae, but after reading through I understand that Harding was painting a very vivid scene of that horrific day. Charlie notes everything in minute detail, which is clever in a way for the reader. Many people recall certain days in vivid detail, especially terrible days. Pushing through to the second chapter we finally get into the heart and soul of Harding's style.

It's probably not a secret, but the success of Harding's writing is the prose. The words are just beautifully arranged, and not in a way that seems premeditated, but in a naturally flowing way. I started reading this novel and could not put it down once I started. Harding, like many other great authors, has a knack for creating interesting, endearing characters. The characters draw the reader into the story, and the prose keeps us hooked.

I equate his style with folks such as Don DeLillo (also a Pulitzer winner), though a different type of plot of course! I very much enjoyed this story. Charlie and Sue are interesting characters, though Charlie is the focus of the story.
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