Choose any hour on the clock. It is possible, then to conceive that the clock’s purpose is to return the hands back to that time, a time which, from the moment chosen, the hands leave and skate across the rest of the clock’s painted signs and calibrations and numbers. These other markings on the face become irrelevant in themselves; they are now simply clues pointing in the direction of the chosen time. It is then possible, too, to conceive of the clock’s gears and springs as each having its own intrinsic function, but within a whole mechanism, the larger purpose of which is to return to the chosen time.

-from the Reasonable Horologist,

by the Rev. Kenner Davenport, 1783

This is a passage from tinkers by Paul Harding, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

I really love this book because of its magical, unreal feeling that Harding creates through his indirect words. For an attempted quick summary of this book, it’s about a man on his deathbed reminiscing his life and throughout the story, it reveals the connections between him and his father. But the story itself contains much more than I can explain in a summary.

The storyline is just amazingly confusing because of how Harding leaves hints through seemingly random passages, like about how to build a bird’s nest. He creates many parallels between the characters and I definitely loved the ending. His choices of words and explanation are what really makes this book great.

This passage in particular from the Reasonable Horologist is one of my favorites because of its simplistically in dept explanation of how the clock’s purpose is to return to a particular time. The quote above is only the beginning part of the entire excerpt, but it goes on to explain how the clock’s purpose resembles the universe. I won’t go on to explain all that but overall, this piece of literature is one that I would definitely recommend to anyone.


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