Mink River by Brian Doyle

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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 distinctive and lyrical voice, Doyle tells the town, in all its humanness and oddity and beauty. There are love affairs and almost-love-affairs, brawls and boats, 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, beer and berries, and a philosophizing crow. 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.

• Editor’s Choice Prize for Fiction, Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards

• An Oregonian Top Ten Northwest Book

“Award-winning essayist 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. Readers who appreciate modern classics like Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio or William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying will find much to savor here. Enthusiastically recommended.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“[An] original, postmodern, shimmering tapestry of small-town life…” —Publishers Weekly

“The strength of the novel lies in Doyle’s ability to convey the delicious vibrancy of people and the quirky whorls that make life a complex tapestry. He is absolutely enchanted by stories, with the zeal and talent to enchant others ... 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.” —The Oregonian

“Doyle's language is rich, lush, equal to the verdant landscape he describes, and his narrative ricochets with a wondrous blending of the real and magical from character to character as he tracks the intersecting lives of Neawanaka one summer.” —Greg Sarris, San Francisco Chronicle

“Doyle explores the inner workings of a community and delivers a timeless story of survival, transcendence and good cheer.” —Tim McNulty, The Seattle Times


About Brian Doyle

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Published October 1, 2010 by Oregon State University Press. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mink River

Kirkus Reviews

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Doyle’s debut novel makes heavy demands on the reader’s capacity to suspend disbelief: In the Pacific Coast village of Neawanaka, a crow is an intimate confidante;

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Publishers Weekly

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Community is the beating heart of this fresh, memorable debut with an omniscient narrator and dozens of characters living in Neawanaka, a small coastal Oregon town.

Aug 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Mink River


In this dazzling fictional debut, author Brian Doyle's Neawanaka, Oregon, between the Pacific Ocean and the titular Mink River, comes alive with the poet's ear for rhythm that is evident in the very first lines-'A town not big not small.

Mar 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Mink River

San Francisco Chronicle

Prepublication blurbs compare Brian Doyle's wildly imaginative debut novel, "Mink River," to Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio" and William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying."

Jan 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Mink River

Oregon Live

-- Joseph Bednarik Reading: Doyle reads from "Mink River" at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Mercy Corps Action Center, 28 S.W.

Oct 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Mink River

Bookmarks Magazine

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.

Oct 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Mink River

Shelf Awareness

"Indie bricks and mortar bookstores may not always be able to satisfy that desire for 'search-find-click-done' instantaneity, but they do have an edge in browseability.

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Project MUSE

Whether it be rescuing a child from domestic abuse, helping someone embrace death, or anonymously distributing food and ale to a union hall where "the old loggers and sailors and fishermen and millworkers congregate too proud to visit the homeless shelter," it is ultimately Doyle's compassionate ...

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