BRIAN DOYLE edits Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, in Oregon. He is the author of thirteen books: six collections of essays, two nonfiction books, two collections of “proems,” the short story collection Bin Laden’s Bald Spot, the novella Cat’s Foot, and the novel Mink River. He is also the editor of several anthologies, most recently Ho`olaule`a, a collection of writing about the Pacific islands. Doyle’s books have seven times been finalists for the Oregon Book Award, and his essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion, The American Scholar, The Sun, The Georgia Review, and in newspapers and magazines around the world, including The New York Times, The Times of London, and The Age (in Australia). His essays have also been reprinted in the annual Best American Essays, Best American Science & Nature Writing, and Best American Spiritual Writing anthologies. Among various honors for his work is a Catholic Book Award, three Pushcart Prizes, the John Burroughs Award for Nature Essays, Foreword Reviews' Novel of the Year award in 2011, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008 (previous recipients include Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O’Connor, and Mary Oliver).
A compelling, marvelous novel by the acclaimed author of Mink River
Declan O Donnell has left Oregon aboard his boat, the Plover, to escape the life that’s so troubled him on land. He sets course west into the Pacific in search of solitude. Instead, he finds a crew, each in search of something themselves, and what at first seems a lonely sea voyage becomes a rapturous, heartfelt celebration of life’s surprising paths, planned and unplanned.
Advance Praise for The Plover
“The Plover is about beauty, loneliness, the mysteries of the sea, albatrosses, an unforgettable young girl, language, healing, and love. And plenty more. Brian Doyle writes with Melville's humor, Whitman's ecstasy, and Faulkner's run-on sentences; in this book he has somehow unified his considerable talents into an affirming, whimsical, exuberant, and pelagic wonder. Few contemporary novels shimmer like this one.” —Anthony Doerr, author of The Shell Collector
“Brian Doyle has spun a great sea story, filled with apparitions, poetry, thrills, and wisdom. The sweet, buoyant joy under every sentence carried me along and had me cheering. I enjoyed this book enormously.” —Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia
Past Praise for Brian Doyle
“Some people can write. Some people can feel. Brian Doyle, born with a silver tongue and a big heart, is among the lucky few who can do both.” —Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
“Virginia Woolf addressed what she called the Common Reader--Brian Doyle doesn’t have any of those. His readers turn instantly and preternaturally uncommon, seeing and feeling and noticing and knowing what they have never before taken in: a kind of laughing piercing antic holiness. To read Brian Doyle is to apprehend, all at once, the force that drives Mark Twain, and Walt Whitman, and James Joyce, and Emily Dickinson, and Francis of Assisi, and Jonah under his gourd. Brian Doyle is an extraordinary writer whose tales will endure.” —Cynthia Ozick, National Book Critics’ Circle Award-winning author of Quarrel and Quandary
“Brian Doyle has a fine quick mind alert for anomaly and quirk--none of them beyond his agile pen.” —Peter Matthiessen, National Book Award-winning author of Shadow Country
“Brian Doyle’s writing is driven by his passion for the human, touchable, daily life, and equally for the untouchable mystery of all else… his gratitude, his sweet lyrical reaching, is a gift to us all.” —Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Primitive
"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
"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