Rotary Book Group – Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020
Mink River, Brian Doyle
In Mink River, Brian Doyle melds Native American folklore, Irish storytelling, a host of quirky characters, and a little bit of the fantastical to bring a coastal Oregon town to life. The town is Neawanaka, whose residents get by as many real-life Oregon coast residents do: by logging, fishing, catering to tourists and dairy farming. 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. 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 coast of Oregon, beneath the hills that used to boast the biggest trees in the history of the world.
The date of our next meeting is Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020. Our discussion will be from 7 – 9 pm and Elaine Heller has offered to host. Directions will be provided in an upcoming email. Please bring a bottle of wine if you have an even-numbered birth year.