Michael Noctor: Four wheels and a pillow
A TALLAGHT author who has spent the last 12 months living in his car has written a fictitious book about a man in a similar situation, which is loosely based on some of his own experiences.
Michael Noctor moved back home from Spain a year ago, with no money and suffering from back issues that rendered him unable to work.
After a short period of time spent living in an overcrowded house with family members, the 53-year-old from Maelruan’s Park then struck out on his own and began living in his car.
The author, who already has six books to his name, has received high praise from Roddy Doyle for his upcoming release ‘Four Wheels and a Pillow’.
Michael spoke to The Echo about how the book came to be, how Tallaght will always be his home and his connections to Roddy Doyle.
Can you tell me what the book is about?
The book is a work of fiction, but I’ve pulled on my own experiences of living in my car for the past 12 months. The book deals with things like homelessness, suicide, alcoholism and relationships. The book is about relationships between friends and family. It’s a book of despair. I’ve been writing books for 20 years and this book is very special. It’s a little gem of a book. One other person has read it, and they couldn’t put it down.
What prompted you to write this book?
I’ve been writing for years. When I was 50, I went away with my friends and a light switch came on, I realised that I was at the age that people worry about being at. My father had also dropped dead in Tallaght Village. I realised I wanted to do something. I wanted to raise my writing profile, and I wanted to write about what I might experience. It’s a beautiful book.
One of your previous books looks at your experience of growing up in Tallaght. What does Tallaght mean to you?
Tallaght is my spiritual and literal home. It’s where my friends grew up, it’s where I’ve spent most of my life, it’s in my blood. I love the history, I love the people. Tallaght, to me, is home on so many levels.
How did you feel when you saw Roddy Doyle’s comments about ‘Four Wheels and a Pillow’?
Myself and Roddy used to play together as kids, and I used to work as a Tesco delivery driver on Roddy’s road and people told me to tell him about the books I was writing. I sent Roddy a message on Facebook, and when he replied I asked him if he’d read ‘Four Wheels and a Pillow’. He read the book, and the quote he gave me was overwhelming. I actually sat down and cried. When he said my book was brilliant it was a big moment for me, to get affirmation from a writer of his standing.
What was it like to write the book while living in your car?
I’ve had dark moments in the car. I’ve lost friends – people have felt guilty because they had a house and I didn’t. It’s been such a journey. I’ve had moments where I wouldn’t see or speak to another person for three days. Sometimes I’d have no food but I wouldn’t go to my sister for food, out of pride.
What do you hope people will take away from reading ‘Four Wheels and a Pillow’?
I hope for lots of things. I hope when people read the book they’ll get an insight into homelessness. Homelessness is at a crisis level right now, while you’ve got the government looking at hosting the Rugby World Cup. I want people to see how desperate homelessness can become – you’re a human living in inhuman conditions.
‘Four Wheels and a Pillow’ will be released on October 20, with a launch night being held in The Dragon Inn in Tallaght Village at 8pm that night. For more details on the book, you can follow him on Facebook at Michael Noctor Books.