When Frankie Hermans emerges from a coma after 200 days, he knows his life is never going to be the same again. For a start, he can’t talk, he can’t walk and it’s a struggle even to wield a pen. And then there’s Joe Speedboat?—?a boy who arrived in the sleepy village of Lomark like a blazing comet and who’s been stirring things up ever since. Whether setting off bombs, racing mopeds or building a bi-plane, Joe has the touch of a magician and the spirit of a daredevil. He also sees a use for Frankie’s good right arm beyond writing: as a champion arm-wrestler Frankie will be strong enough to impress his friends, and maybe even win the favour of the gorgeous, golden-haired girl who has them all in a spin. Full of vitality, verve and chutzpah, Joe Speedboat tells the fast-paced story of an unlikely friendship between two boys, and of their lightning dash towards adulthood.
‘[A] brilliant coming-of-age story with an outlandish twist … There are more coming-of-age novels than dikes in Holland, but this wonderfully weird novel is not one to miss.’
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‘The triumph and tragedy that pepper the story feel authentically random, though the familiar coming-of-age structure lends the book a directionless, episodic feel … Wieringa’s tale takes on the feel of a good road-trip novel perfectly suited to his cast of eccentrics. The setting of rural Holland is convincingly rendered, and the low-key freakishness (think Garp) keeps things at just the right degree of weird.’
‘[An] offbeat story of a group of boys searching for meaning … This work conjures John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany but with a lighter touch.’
‘Winsome … Wieringa’s protagonist, Frankie, has an attitude attune to Holden Caulfield, without the anxiety and the quirks … [Frankie’s] unwavering and confident … in-your-face voice … applies literature to life, lyrically, with an attention to minutiae … Charismatic, intelligent, he’s the kinetic energy that thrusts the narrative forward.’