ISBN 9780870716898 (ebook)
- 2011 Foreword Reviews' Editor's Choice Prize for Fiction
- Lake Oswego's Everyone Reads selection
- Brian Doyle on Live Wire, taped at the live radio show on November 18, 2011
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 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.
About the author
Brian Doyle (1956-2017) was the author of many books, including the novels Mink River and The Plover; The Grail, his account of a year in a pinot noir vineyard in Oregon; and The Wet Engine, a memoir about his infant son’s heart surgery and the young doctor who saved his life. He edited Portland Magazine at the University of Portland.
Read more about this author
“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
“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
"Mink River, destined to become the quintessential, post-modern novel of Western Oregon life, embraces magical realism as the only brush possible to paint all the colors seen. Even though it takes place at the Coast rather than the Valley, City or High Desert and is very embedded in the strata of the Pacific Marine ecosystem, its themes of timeless stories that live through generations and the changes that time works is an everywhere theme, an anyplace kind of experience."
—Ryan Ramon, West by Northwest Online Magazine