Brian Doyle's memoir tells the harrowing story of his young son being diagnosed with a serious heart condition. Through a collection of essays, each touching upon some aspect of his experience, Doyle shows the absolutely horrifying reality of a parent on the brink of losing their child. His vulnerability and stark utter terror are palpable as he maneuvers through the medical system while reflecting upon his worthiness as a parent. As usual, Doyle's style is so quirky, amusing, and unlikely, you will be surprised to hear yourself bust out laughing while reading about such a serious subject. Bordering on poetic, The Wet Engine is a slim memoir that is so stunning, it will leave you heart sore, shaken, and breathless. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
In this poignant and startlingly original book, Brian Doyle examines the heart as a physical organ—how it is supposed to work, how surgeons try to fix it when it doesn’t—and as a metaphor: the seat of the soul, the power house of the body, the essence of spirituality. In a series of profoundly moving ruminations, Doyle considers the scientific, emotional, literary, philosophical, and spiritual understandings of the heart—from cardiology to courage, from love letters and pop songs to Jesus. Weaving these strands together is the torment of Doyle’s own infant son’s heart surgery and the inspiring story of the young heart doctor who saved Liam’s life.
The Wet Engine is a book that will change how you feel and think about the mysterious, fragile human heart. This new paperback edition includes a foreword by Dr. Marla Salmon, dean of the University of Washington School of Nursing.
"This wonderful book has two heroes: a small boy with a damaged heart, and a surgeon who knows how to repair the damaged hearts of small boys. Such heroes deserve a gifted poet to sing their songs. Brian Doyle is that poet." —Chet Raymo, author of Honey from Stone: A Naturalist's Search for God
"Brian Doyle's spirit is catching: it will catch you up, and soon you will have caught on to everything he feels and ruminates over and marvels at, and you will comprehend what poetry is and does. And you will know from the throb of The Wet Engine,
this unique and beautiful book written in celestial prose, that Brian Doyle is as glorious a poet as he is a father; and vice versa." —Cynthia Ozick, author of The Shawl
About the Author
Brian Doyle is the author of twelve books, including the novel Mink River and The Grail, his account of a year in a vineyard in Oregon. He edits Portland Magazine at the University of Portland.
Read exclusive essays by Brian Doyle from 2010