At twenty-eight years old, Eli “Berg” Koenigsberg has never encountered a challenge he couldn’t push through – until a concussion leaves him with a lingering headache and a weakness for opiates. Berg moves to a remote Northern California town to seek space and time to recover, but soon finds himself breaking into homes in search of pills.
Addled by addiction and chronic pain, Berg meets Alejandro, a reclusive master boatbuilder, and begins to see a path forward. Alejandro offers Berg honest labor, but more important a new approach to his suffering, a template for survival amidst intense pain. Nurtured by his friendship with Alejandro and aided by the comradeship of many of Talinas’s colorful residents, Berg begins to return to himself.
Written in gleaming prose, this is a story about resilience, community, and what it takes to win back your soul.
Praise for The Boatbuilder:
“[Gumbiner] allows his characters and small-town setting to shine in this beautiful novel about finding one’s place, no matter how small, in the world.”
“The Boatbuilder is a gorgeous debut about addiction, aspiration, and art on the California coast. It’s radiantly imagined, often moving, always funny, and teeming with life. Daniel Gumbiner isn’t a writer to watch—he’s one to read.”
“Daniel Gumbiner brings coastal California into sparkling focus in this moving story of a young man’s transition into adulthood. Told with wit and heart, The Boatbuilder is a meditation on love, loyalty, and the shared experiences that turn strangers into family.”
“This book’s alive. The Boatbuilder is a surprising and soulful first novel and it deserves many, many readers.”