The Plover is not exactly a sequel to Mink River — more of a companion piece — but fans of the latter will be thrilled to find out what happened to one of the most beloved characters. After sailing his little boat off the final pages of Mink River, the story of Declan O'Donnell continues in The Plover. Declan is a man of serious solitude, and he is pleased to be starting a journey of peace and quiet. But there is no quiet in Brian Doyle's head — it is full of magic, mutterings, and musings, and once these things are in motion, there is no stopping them.
Before Declan knows what has hit him, he has a boat full of bodies — both human and otherwise — along for the ride, "...ranging in size from [enormous] to an infinitesimal acorn barnacle, just born as this sentence began, and no bigger than the period which is about to arrive, here." No, there will be no solitude for Declan — and how lucky for us. The Plover is a rambling, charming sea voyage, full of thrills, danger, and narrow escapes.
It's also an excellent observation on the nature of things unseen: on what may be, on ideas, on imaginings, aspirations, and dreams. There is so much substance underneath Doyle's dazzling, rich language, I just wanted to read each sentence over and over until every whisper of nuance was absorbed, recognized, and experienced. Doyle's writing is a discovery of how shattering and awe-inspiring language can be, and his literary contortions are both improbable and captivating at the same time. Remember the first book you loved as a child? Remember how you wished so much you lived in that book? That feeling is Doyle's "normal," and we should all be so lucky to live in his world. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Read exclusive essays by Brian Doyle from 2010