Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter

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Product Details

$24.95  $23.20
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.45 X 0.99 X 8.33 inches | 0.74 pounds

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About the Author

Nina MacLaughlin lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she works as a carpenter. Formerly an editor at the Boston Phoenix, she has written for the Believer, Bookslut, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere.


An effortless blend of literary craft with woodcraft.--Erin Shea
In this beautiful memoir about learning a trade, Nina MacLaughlin explores mortality, desire, the passage of time, and the meaning of work. She transcends the personal and makes us question what of our own works are built to endure. This book--a thing well-made--certainly is.--Philip Connors, author of Fire Season
Not many of us find the courage to follow that small voice inside us to our true work, especially when that work lacks social status and health benefits and financial stability. But here, in this wonderfully assured debut, Nina MacLaughlin compellingly chronicles having done just that, a leap of faith that brings her more deeply into her very core where the stakes are high but the potential for lasting joy is even higher. Lucky for us, MacLaughlin's evocative prose is just as plumb, level, and true as all the wood structures she ultimately learns to build. This is a lovely and important book!--Andre Dubus III, author of Townie
Though MacLaughlin may be an apprentice carpenter, she is a master writer, with the rare combination of acute observation and astute word choice that characterizes writers like Annie Dillard or Joan Didion.--Rebecca Steinitz
Beautiful and wise... Like if Annie Dillard had her own show on HGTV.--Edan Lepucki
Renders enormous interest in this painstaking work, so lovingly delineated.
A surprisingly thoughtful book about taking chances and finding joy in change.
Hammer Head is warm, wise, and authentically inspiring. No other book has made me want to re-read Ovid and retile my bathroom floor, nor given me the conviction that I can do both. I loved it.--Rosie Schaap, author of Drinking with Men