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Mink River

by

Mink River Cover

 

Awards

Staff Pick

I haven't enjoyed a book this much in so long! Set in a tiny coastal Oregon town, this story is populated with characters who seem to leap off the page and speak their lines into your ear. They are that real. Brian Doyle breaks all the so-called "rules" of good writing, yet this book is rich and layered and beautiful and profound. Riotous and complex, Doyle's lush tale compels you to read faster than you'd like, because you can't stand not knowing just what the heck is going to happen next. Every sentence is a tiny jewel you want to roll around on your tongue and slowly savor. Quirky, unique, and delightful, the tale of Neawanaka gets under your skin and lives inside you. Go read it!
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Mink River is Pacific Northwest fiction at its finest. Doyle plunges us head first into the lives of the residents of a soggy, fictional Oregon coast town, Neawanaka. Rich with both Native American and Irish storytelling, Mink River lets us inside the raw, honest lives of ordinary people and makes us see the extraordinary in them. Long after you have read this novel, you will find yourself wondering what the characters are doing now and hoping that all is well in the fictional little town you've come to love.
Recommended by Koa, Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Like Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood and Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, Brian Doyle's stunning fiction debut brings a town to life through the jumbled lives and braided stories of its people.

In a small fictional town on the Oregon coast there are love affairs and almost-love-affairs, mystery and hilarity, bears and tears, brawls and boats, a garrulous logger and a silent doctor, rain and pain, Irish immigrants and Salish stories, mud and laughter. There's a Department of Public Works that gives haircuts and counts insects, a policeman addicted to Puccini, a philosophizing crow, beer and berries. An expedition is mounted, a crime committed, and there's an unbelievably huge picnic on the football field. Babies are born. A car is cut in half with a saw. A river confesses what it's thinking...

It's the tale of a town, written in a distinct and lyrical voice, and readers will close the book more than a little sad to leave the village of Neawanaka, on the wet coast of Oregon, beneath the hills that used to boast the biggest trees in the history of the world.

Review:

"Community is the beating heart of this fresh, memorable debut with an omniscient narrator and dozens of characters living in Neawanaka, a small coastal Oregon town. Daniel Cooney, a 12-year-old who wears his hair in three different-colored braids, has a terrible bike accident in the woods and is rescued by a bear. Daniel's grandfather, Worried Man, is able to sense others' pain even from a distance and goes on a dangerous mountain mission to track down the source of time with his dear friend, Cedar. Other key stories involve a young police officer whose life is threatened, a doctor who smokes one cigarette for each apostle per day, a lusty teenage couple who work at a shingle factory, and a crow who can speak English. The fantastical blends with the natural elements in this original, postmodern, shimmering tapestry of small-town life that profits from the oral traditions of the town's population of Native Americans and Irish immigrants. Those intrigued by the cultural heritage of the Pacific Northwest will treasure every lyrical sentence. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"If my high-hearted friend Brian Doyle is trying to avoid the nickname 'Paddy,' his wondrous Oregon Coast novel is the wrong feckin' way to go about it. In its sights, settings, insinuations, flora and fauna, his tale is quintessential North Coast, but in its sensibility and lilt this story is as Irish as tin whistles — and the pairing is an unprecedented delight. This thing reads like an Uilleann pipe tour de force by a Sligo County maestro cast up on the shores of County Tillamook. The hauntings and shadows, shards of dark and bright, usurpations by wonder, lust, blarney, yearning, are coast-mythic in flavor but entirely bardic at heart. Doyle's sleights of hand, word, and reality burr up off the page the way bits of heather burr out of a handmade Irish sweater yet the same sweater is stained indigenous orange by a thousand Netarts Bay salmonberries. I've read no Northwest novel remotely like it and enjoyed few novels more. Of an Irishman's Oregon I am nothing but glad to have wandered, Mink River sings and sings." David James Duncan, author of The Brothers K and The River Why

Review:

"Absolutely in the tradition of Northwest literature, richly imagined, distinctive, beautiful... I was pulled along steadily, my heart raced, I held my breath..." Molly Gloss, author of The Hearts of Horses and The Jump-Off Creek

Review:

"Doyle writes with an inventive and seductive style that echoes that of ancient storytellers. This lyrical mix of natural history, poetry, and Salish and Celtic lore offers crime, heartaches, celebrations, healing, and death....Enthusiastically recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"The greatest gift of Mink River is that it provides every reason in the world to see your own village, neighborhood and life in a deeper, more nuanced and connected way." Oregonian

Synopsis:

The story of the small Oregon coast town of Neawanaka and its people.

About the Author

Brian Doyle is the author of ten books, including Thirsty for the Joy: Australian and American Voices, Epiphanies and Elegies, and The Wet Engine. He edits Portland Magazine at the University of Portland. Doyle's essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Orion, the American Scholar, and in newspapers and magazines around the world. His essays have also been reprinted in the annual Best American Essays, Best American Science and Nature Writing, and Best American Spiritual Writing anthologies. Among various honors for his work is the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 78 comments:

TracyTasmania, February 21, 2014 (view all comments by TracyTasmania)
I loved it!
When I am travelling I like to buy a book by a local author. In Portland I chose Mink River and it was a delight. Sentences and phrases you just have to read over and over again. Special words with special powers. This is a story that makes you think and wonder. This is a story that makes you feel changed by the experience. Wonderful characters, very real yet quirky and magical. My favourite - the crow!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
jwoodwa2, December 9, 2013 (view all comments by jwoodwa2)
Mink River by Brian Doyle is a great read. I originally picked the book because, like Doyle, I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and anything remotely related to the ocean or the area in general intrigues me. Perhaps it’s the nostalgic feelings and reminders of home that overcomes me when I think about the area where I spent so much time when I was younger, whatever the reason I just love everything and anything about it. All I knew about Mink River was that it was the story of a small town in the Northwest, other than that I was going into it blind. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I picked it up and I have to admit I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t connect with the story. I am happy to say that those nerves were calmed because the book was absolutely fabulous. It centers on the happenings of a small town filled with interesting people. From little Daniel and his three braids, to Worried Man and Ceder, the characters in the book are quintessential of the North West. Everything about the story settings and the stories carried with them the North West feel. Anyone who has visited the area will understand and relate to the descriptions Doyle gives. You are sure to find one character that absolutely intrigues and captivates you. Doyle does a tremendous job at interweaving this captivating stories and characters with twists and a beautiful prose style. There is something absurd yet sublime about the book and the way Doyle tells it. Reading Mink River made me remember why I love literature so much. Doyle makes language fun and exciting again. All in all, Mink River is a fantastic novel.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
skeenathedog, November 1, 2013 (view all comments by skeenathedog)
I married an Oregonian from the south coast, who worked on a gyppo logging crew through college and whose stepfather was a commercial fisherman. Against that background, the characters in this book felt like old friends. But even without that, the novel is a thoroughly charming and engrossing read. I didn't want to put the book down. It's the first time in years that I've gasped aloud as I've read, worried about the welfare of the people who inhabit the pages, cried as the characters suffered through life changes, and been engaged by the magic of the story. Thank you so much for a book that ranks among my top 10!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 78 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780870715853
Author:
Doyle, Brian
Publisher:
Oregon State University Press
Subject:
Oregon
Subject:
City and town life - Oregon
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Fiction; Literature; Novel; City and town life-Oregon
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback
Publication Date:
20101031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.9 x 6 x 1 in

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Mink River Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Oregon State University Press - English 9780870715853 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I haven't enjoyed a book this much in so long! Set in a tiny coastal Oregon town, this story is populated with characters who seem to leap off the page and speak their lines into your ear. They are that real. Brian Doyle breaks all the so-called "rules" of good writing, yet this book is rich and layered and beautiful and profound. Riotous and complex, Doyle's lush tale compels you to read faster than you'd like, because you can't stand not knowing just what the heck is going to happen next. Every sentence is a tiny jewel you want to roll around on your tongue and slowly savor. Quirky, unique, and delightful, the tale of Neawanaka gets under your skin and lives inside you. Go read it!

"Staff Pick" by ,

Mink River is Pacific Northwest fiction at its finest. Doyle plunges us head first into the lives of the residents of a soggy, fictional Oregon coast town, Neawanaka. Rich with both Native American and Irish storytelling, Mink River lets us inside the raw, honest lives of ordinary people and makes us see the extraordinary in them. Long after you have read this novel, you will find yourself wondering what the characters are doing now and hoping that all is well in the fictional little town you've come to love.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Community is the beating heart of this fresh, memorable debut with an omniscient narrator and dozens of characters living in Neawanaka, a small coastal Oregon town. Daniel Cooney, a 12-year-old who wears his hair in three different-colored braids, has a terrible bike accident in the woods and is rescued by a bear. Daniel's grandfather, Worried Man, is able to sense others' pain even from a distance and goes on a dangerous mountain mission to track down the source of time with his dear friend, Cedar. Other key stories involve a young police officer whose life is threatened, a doctor who smokes one cigarette for each apostle per day, a lusty teenage couple who work at a shingle factory, and a crow who can speak English. The fantastical blends with the natural elements in this original, postmodern, shimmering tapestry of small-town life that profits from the oral traditions of the town's population of Native Americans and Irish immigrants. Those intrigued by the cultural heritage of the Pacific Northwest will treasure every lyrical sentence. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "If my high-hearted friend Brian Doyle is trying to avoid the nickname 'Paddy,' his wondrous Oregon Coast novel is the wrong feckin' way to go about it. In its sights, settings, insinuations, flora and fauna, his tale is quintessential North Coast, but in its sensibility and lilt this story is as Irish as tin whistles — and the pairing is an unprecedented delight. This thing reads like an Uilleann pipe tour de force by a Sligo County maestro cast up on the shores of County Tillamook. The hauntings and shadows, shards of dark and bright, usurpations by wonder, lust, blarney, yearning, are coast-mythic in flavor but entirely bardic at heart. Doyle's sleights of hand, word, and reality burr up off the page the way bits of heather burr out of a handmade Irish sweater yet the same sweater is stained indigenous orange by a thousand Netarts Bay salmonberries. I've read no Northwest novel remotely like it and enjoyed few novels more. Of an Irishman's Oregon I am nothing but glad to have wandered, Mink River sings and sings."
"Review" by , "Absolutely in the tradition of Northwest literature, richly imagined, distinctive, beautiful... I was pulled along steadily, my heart raced, I held my breath..."
"Review" by , "Doyle writes with an inventive and seductive style that echoes that of ancient storytellers. This lyrical mix of natural history, poetry, and Salish and Celtic lore offers crime, heartaches, celebrations, healing, and death....Enthusiastically recommended."
"Review" by , "The greatest gift of Mink River is that it provides every reason in the world to see your own village, neighborhood and life in a deeper, more nuanced and connected way."
"Synopsis" by , The story of the small Oregon coast town of Neawanaka and its people.
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