||2010 Powell's Staff Top 5s
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 H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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
"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
"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
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.