The Good Hand: A Memoir of Work, Brotherhood and Transformation in an American Boomtown

By Michael Patrick F. Smith

A TIMES AND SUNDAY TIMES BEST BOOK OF 2021

‘Thrillingly and wrenchingly funny … like Educated and Hillbilly Elegy
DAVID LIPSKY

‘After reading The Good Hand you may reassess whether you have ever truly done a hard day’s work in your life … This lyrical and engrossing memoir is an extraordinary tale … Undeniably powerful’
SUNDAY TIMES

The must-read memoir of 2021.

Michael Patrick Smith grew up in a ramshackle farmhouse where his father beat the walls and threw dinner plates. As a restless young man left unmoored by the crashing economy, Smith cut a path to North Dakota to rent a mattress on a flophouse floor. Sleeping boot to beard with the other rough-edged men looking to earn a cent drilling for oil, Smith wanted the work to burn him clean – of his violent upbringing, his demons, his disjointed, doomed relationships. He did not expect, among these quick-fisted, foul-mouthed hands, to find a community.

The Good Hand is a memoir of danger and exhaustion, of suffering, loneliness and grit, of masculinity and of learning how to reconcile yourself to yourself.