Martin Marten does for Mt. Hood what Mink River did for the Oregon coast; that is, it somehow shows just how whimsical and quaint a small town can be, and to such a degree that you fall in love with Doyle's version of this place and secretly want to live there. Martin Marten follows the lives of two inhabitants of "the Zag" near Rhododendron on Mt. Hood: an adolescent boy named Dave and a marten named Martin (just go with it!). Told with Doyle's distinctive attention to minute details and things often unseen, Martin Marten is bursting with the adventures of not only Dave and Martin, but all the millions of inhabitants (animal, vegetable, AND mineral) on this small patch of land on the side of a mountain. Doyle's fervent affection for both humans and nonhumans is the foundation of this story of survival, home, family, coming of age, love, and grace.
Doyle has a sharp eye for breathtaking beauty and a sharp ear for dialogue, and his staggering language will wrap you up in its enormous embrace and take you on a trip so unusual and so entertaining, you will love every minute of it. His style is so remarkable, it doesn't go too far to tap him as one of Oregon's most-beloved wordsmiths. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Dave is fourteen years old, living with his family in a cabin on Oregon's Mount Hood (or as Dave prefers to call it, like the Native Americans once did, Wy'east). He is entering high school, adulthood on the horizon not far off in distance, and contemplating a future away from his mother, father, and his precocious younger sister.
And Dave is not the only one approaching adulthood and its freedoms on Wy'east that summer. Martin, a pine marten (a small animal of the deep woods, of the otter/mink family), is leaving his own mother and siblings and setting off on his own as well. As Martin and Dave's paths cross on forest trails and rocky mountaintops, they — and we — witness the full, unknowable breadth and vast sweep of life, and the awe-inspiring interconnectedness of the world and its many inhabitants, human and otherwise.
Martin Marten is a coming-of-age tale like no other, told in Brian Doyle's joyous, rollicking style.
"Martin Marten is a joyous celebration of the complexities of life told by a master storyteller. You will want to share it with your family and friends." Neil Abramson, author of Unsaid
"Martin Marten is a daring and delightful creation. As well as any novelist working today, Brian Doyle blends animal and human kingdoms into a seamless hopeful narrative overflowing with the wonderment of life. So artfully does he weave the feelings and impulses of his imagined people and wildlife that Doyle himself must be half-man, half-critter. Martin Marten should be required reading for all humans." Jim Lynch, author of the novels Truth Like the Sun, Border Songs, and The Highest Tide
"Doyle is a born storyteller....Life in the Northwest woods may be fanciful in Martin Marten, but the characters emerge true as rain." Seattle Times
"A rich, wise tale of two creatures from different species whose lives run parallel to each other." Shelf Awareness
WINNER OF THE LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE
WINNER OF THE BANFF MOUNTAIN BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION
Dave is fourteen years old, eager and headlong. He is about to start high school, which is scary and alluring. Martin is a pine marten, a small, muscled hunter of the deep woods. He is about to leave home for the first time, which is scary and thrilling. Both of these wild animals are setting off on adventures on their native Mount Hood in Oregon, and their lives, paths, and trails will cross, weave, and blend. Why not come with them as they set forth into the forest and crags of the mountain and into the bruising wilderness of love, life, family, friends, enemies, wonder, mystery, and good things to eat?
Martin Marten is a braided coming-of-age tale like no other, told in Brian Doyle's joyous, rollicking style. Two energetic, sinewy, muddled, brilliant, creative animals, one human and one mustelid...come sprint with them through the deep, wet, green glory of Oregon's soaring mountain wilderness.
About the Author
BRIAN DOYLE is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, and the author of thirteen books of essays, fiction, poems, and nonfiction, among them the novels Mink River and The Plover. Honors for his work include the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award in Literature. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Read exclusive essays by Brian Doyle from 2010