A funny and deeply moving novel about a boy, his dream, and the people who lend him a hand, by the acclaimed author of As You Were
Jamie O’Neill loves the colour red. He also loves tall trees, patterns, rain that comes with wind, the curvature of many objects, books with dust jackets, cats, rivers and Edgar Allan Poe. At age thirteen, there are two things he especially wants in life: to build a Perpetual Motion Machine, and to connect with his mother, Noelle, who died when he was born. In his mind these things are intimately linked. And at his new school, where all else is disorientating and overwhelming, he finds two people who might just be able to help him.
How to Build a Boat is the story of how one boy and his mission transforms the lives of his teachers, Tess and Tadhg, and brings together a community. Written with tenderness and verve, it’s about love, family and connection, the power of imagination, and how our greatest adventures never happen alone.
Praise for How to Build a Boat
“Elaine Feeney’s writing […] lights up with that brilliant combination of hilarity and tenderness.”
“One of those rare books that leaves you feeling less lonely. An uplifting tale of community, healing and the small connections that can change a life. A gorgeous gift of a novel, hopeful and full of humanity.”
—Douglas Stuart, Booker Prize winning author of Shuggie Bain
Praise for As You Were
“I read this in one gulp! FunnySadCuttingBadHistoryElatingLyrical (new word). #Ireland #hospitals um what else?”
—Margaret Atwood on Twitter
“[A] brilliant debut … Never sentimental, and full of well-crafted dialogue and rich descriptions … This powerful work perfectly balances tragedy and hope.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“In a novel that paints a picture of modern Ireland that isn’t by Sally Rooney, women in an oncology ward come to terms with secrets, illnesses, and how to deal with their families through text and emoji-speak and existential humor. Perfect for Sad Girl Fall.”
“A mighty, turbulent firestorm of a book, with a pulsing, rhythmic narrative voice. A compelling cast of characters with pitch perfect dialogue, it is tender, nuanced, forensically controlled and thrillingly unrestrained.”
—2021 Dalkey Emerging Writer Award Jury