Brian doyle the greatest nature essay ever

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How i paid off my medical school loans Mba school rankings Writing a will in pennsylvania Tips for writing academic essays. A truly great read, and I'm a Brian Doyle fan for sure. View all 17 comments. Feb 10, J. Stewart rated it it was amazing. I loved "Mink River," which made it into my Top Ten. Brian Doyle is a writer's writer who respects and trusts the reader. He is not only a treasure to Portland, Oregon, he is a treasure to the broad world of literature.

I'll stop now, before I gush all over myself. View 1 comment. Jun 26, Teresa rated it really liked it Recommended to Teresa by: Sue. View all 12 comments. May 17, Ken rated it it was amazing Shelves: contemporary , finished-in If you are drawn to words, Brian Doyle's Song to the Pacific will prove a delight. If you are drawn to the ocean, it will be even more so. His writing exuberance is evident from the first chapter as words leap over and over each other like porpoises plying the playful sea. At first you think it will be the story of a lone sailor, Declan, moving philosophically around the lonely Pacific on his foot home-with-a-hull, the Plover , but soon you realize that this is a story about humanity as much as a sin If you are drawn to words, Brian Doyle's Song to the Pacific will prove a delight.

At first you think it will be the story of a lone sailor, Declan, moving philosophically around the lonely Pacific on his foot home-with-a-hull, the Plover , but soon you realize that this is a story about humanity as much as a single man and the briny. Thus, Doyle introduces us to a biologist friend, Piko, and his traumatized and speechless daughter, Pipa.

Then there's the resident gull. And stowaway tern. And two rogue rats. That's not all, either. Before the end, the boat will be packed to the gunwales with the flotsam and jetsam of human life that fall the boat's way during its many mild adventures no over-the-top here, thank you. Together they become a microcosm for all that is good and hopeful and joyous in life.

I could easily criticize the book for a leaky plot, but who needs a plot with such writing as this? Doyle is not afraid to make up words; to indulge in bouts of Realism, Romanticism, or Magical Realism if it suits his writing mood; to have birds, animals, and fish talk; to wonder about life and death and the meaning of our short cosmic streak across the heavens; to do, in short, as he pleases without worrying about formulas and conventions and reviewers and, who knows, book royalties and such.

Just Declan and his favorite, memorized Edmund Burke speeches, thinking and talking and piloting as they see fit. A typical reverie: "One time when the wind was high and all sail set Piko tied himself to a longline and tied his feet to cedar planks and surfed behind the boat until the rope snapped and he described a somersault very nearly landing back on his feet again in the water but not quite. Another time a pod of whales swam right at the boat their massive foreheads like seething walls in the water but at the last possible second they split into two lines and slid past the boat making booming sounds so deep and thorough and amused that Pipa mewled happily for an hour afterward.

Another time a shark circled the boat for an hour until a leap of porpoises shot past and hammered the shark mercilessly until it fled. Another time flying fish flew over the boat east to west in such numbers that it seemed the Plover was covered with a silver sheen, silver snow, a living shroud, a moist blanket, a shivering roof. Run-on poetry with sparse punctuation.

A long-noted song. And such characterization and description that you will briefly forget that the literary world hawked such things as plots and say you wish you could continue the voyage when this particular one comes to port as all must. Recommended to poets, sailors, Melville fans, writer's writers, literary readers, freedom lovers, part-time philosophers, and those on the edge of despair with the land-lubbing world. View all 6 comments. Jul 17, Dianah rated it it was amazing Shelves: literature , autographed , arc , favorites , quotes , local.

The Plover is not exactly a sequel to Mink River -- more of a companion piece -- but fans of the latter will be thrilled to find out what happened to one of the most beloved characters. Declan is a man of serious solitude and he is pleased to be starting a journey of peace and quiet. But, there is no quiet in Brian Doyle's head -- it is full of magic, mutterings and musings, an The Plover is not exactly a sequel to Mink River -- more of a companion piece -- but fans of the latter will be thrilled to find out what happened to one of the most beloved characters.

But, there is no quiet in Brian Doyle's head -- it is full of magic, mutterings and musings, and once these things are in motion, there is no stopping them. The Plover is a rambling, charming sea voyage, full of thrills, danger and narrow escapes. Reading Doyle's writing is an enchanting discovery of how shattering and awe-inspiring language can be, and his literary contortions are both improbable and captivating at the same time. Remember the first book you loved as a child?

Remember how you wished so hard you lived in that book? That feeling is Doyle's "normal" and we should all be so lucky to live in his world. View all 35 comments. Declan O Donnell seeks solitude and anonymity and so sets sail alone from Defoe Bay, Oregon into the vast Pacific Ocean in a tiny boat called The Plover with no agenda, except not sinking, and no destination, except west and then west.

Declan Declan O Donnell seeks solitude and anonymity and so sets sail alone from Defoe Bay, Oregon into the vast Pacific Ocean in a tiny boat called The Plover with no agenda, except not sinking, and no destination, except west and then west. I loved Declan and his ocean and his boat and his refugees.

This is a book that should not be rushed - it ebbs and flows and dips and swells, just like the Pacific Ocean, and you have to slow down in order to appreciate fully the meditative prose, the rich descriptions of animals and environment, and the magical realism here. What a tremendous loss to the world of words that Brian Doyle passed away last year at age He was an incredibly gifted writer and an author I highly recommend to all. View all 5 comments. Jul 04, Stacia rated it it was amazing Shelves: , favorites.

I loved it. Just loved it. She wasn't crying. They were just the memories, leaking out. The Plover is not my book. Not my story. It doesn't hold my memories. But when the tears le I loved it. But when the tears leaked out of my eyes while reading, that quote is exactly what I thought of. It doesn't even make sense in a way, yet it does somehow.

Editing to add I said it's not magical realism. Yet, there are some touches there too. To me, though, they were so natural to the story that I see it more as an honoring of traditions or beliefs that all living things communicate, be they human, or animal, or plant. In my world, talking animals or plants are normal in some stories, but may be categorized differently by other readers. To each his own. Feb 01, Dana rated it really liked it Shelves: , favourites , gratis.

I can't believe that I put this book off for so long! On the bright side however, discovering an fortuitously great book brings the same gleeful joy as finding cash in your couch. And boy did I ever hit the jackpot with this gem. I will admit that it took me a while to get into this book but once I did it was hard to put down.

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I found myself thinking about it all day and dreaming about it all night. I loved all the characters in this story and the writing is smooth and magical and wise.

So I can't believe that I put this book off for so long! So wise! There is a heaviness to this book but also a lightness. The adventure was wonderful and I found myself at the edge of my seat when reading about the villain. I greedily gobbled up this amazing book and now I sit, full and satisfied and happy, for having experienced this book.

Mar 09, Richard Sutton rated it it was amazing. Take a bow, Mr. Doyle, and publisher Thomas Dunne, too! A book like The Plover has becoming such a rarity lately, your work shines like a star breaking through the clouds.


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This is not a book for every reader; but rather, for thos Take a bow, Mr. This is not a book for every reader; but rather, for those who love the sea, love boats, and have a glimmer that there is much hidden in plain sight in our world. Having known the feeling of shore-legs is also a definite plus for readers of this heaving, liquid prose.

The Plover is the last remaining love of a man who wants to free himself from expectations and involvement with others. His carefully constructed solitude is broken almost immediately by a friendly gull and an odd rag-tag passenger list that seems to grow with every landfall despite his best intentions to keep it simple. Within these sometimes hilarious, sometime frightening and regularly mysterious pages, he discovers that he can love other people as much as he loves his little boat. His characters are all much deeper than I initially expected. To think that someone this driven to deny his humanity could find redemption in the loving grace of an afflicted young child, the easy humor of a close friend, the deeply spiritual grasp of an almost silent Island woman and the evolving, miraculous worldview of a former politician, is incredible.

For me, the story of the seemingly aimless voyage of The Plover, found a landfall right in my heart. View 2 comments. I checked this out based on the glowing review of my favorite bookseller, waxing poetic about Doyle's prose. I HATE his prose. Note to author: 1. If you have more than one semicolon in a sentence and it isn't providing a list of phrases, you need to seriously think about the use of periods.

Reading your text is exhausting. IF you were attempting to record the protagonist's stream of conscious thoughts by the multiple semicolons and commas that lead the reader along a crooked path, the techniq I checked this out based on the glowing review of my favorite bookseller, waxing poetic about Doyle's prose. IF you were attempting to record the protagonist's stream of conscious thoughts by the multiple semicolons and commas that lead the reader along a crooked path, the technique failed.

The use of the f-word -- even when you replace the "u" with an "e" serves no purpose other than to illustrate your lack of command over the English language. It is trite and superfluous. View all 4 comments. Sep 21, Amantha rated it really liked it. Declan is a character I barely remembered from Mink River - his sister, Grace, was a bit more noteworthy. But as soon as he opened his mouth - as soon as that first "fecking feck" left his tongue - I suddenly had a jolt of recognition. Lost at sea - or so the citizens of Neawanaka assume when he sails one day and never returns. But that fate is far too simple for such a strong person as Declan O'Donnell.

Turns out he had more in store than simply disappearing into the great unknown. What g Declan is a character I barely remembered from Mink River - his sister, Grace, was a bit more noteworthy. What gets me every time is Doyle's deft turn of phrase and lyrical prose. There were some parts that flowed so beautifully they begged to be read out loud. In his hands the extraordinary becomes even more sublime by the sheer ordinariness of it.

Declan's best friend shows up on a remote island with his crippled daughter because he somehow knew that's where Declan was going to make port? Sure, absolutely. It's no more absurd than a little girl who can speak to birds, seagulls with sarcastic streaks, or a government official who dreams of uniting all of the Pacific Island countries into one nation. I didn't give this book as many stars as Mink River simply because none of the characters had quite the same pull for me as Cedar did and the seagull never flat-out spoke the way Moses did, which I kept hoping would happen.

Nothing is quite as thrilling as a talking bird. Still The Plover is a fantastic companion or, if you haven't read Mink River , stand-alone novel.

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I'll have to get my hands on my very own copy ASAP. Preorder your copy from Powell's Books. View all 3 comments. Apr 02, Michelle rated it it was amazing. I was tired when I finished and I thought to myself, I will do this later. I have to let the words sit. The words have sat. In the meantime I have taken in many more words, but different kinds of words. I read an anthropology book, a fairy tale, a history book, a book in translation from Spanish with short, choppy words.

Brian's words and books do the same thing as Faulkner and Joyce. They hit me that way. It kind of reminds me of doing puzzles with my mother. My mom had a great deal of brain damage and she needs to be taken care of now. I do many puzzles with her to pass the time. I try to stop her. She puts the puzzle together the way she wants. What comes out sometimes is all her. Definitely not what the box advertised. A shaken up image, a word Picasso.

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A puzzle poem. Brian puts the word-pieces together how he wants, when he wants, like every poet I love. Watching that in prose in the fiction world is really something. Like reading Rilke. Dense and imagistic. It takes me into it, almost, instead of me taking the words into myself.

So I should probably say that I know Brian. Kind man. My father and I were both operated on by the same doctor Dr. Albert Starr as his son. He had another main doctor but Starr was involved. My cousins were all operated on and all but one died on the operating table, also operated on by Starr. I was operated on in the same building as his son. There were so many similarities. Reading his book 8 years ago, holding that little book in my hand and knowing the experience and the determination that, no matter what, to live densely, beautifully, gracefully, fully, in the small amount of time we have, is the best.

To see that beauty. I love him for being out of print in a couple of his beautiful books and still living strong and writing strong. Brian is an optimist and I am not. That decision is gonna help us readers know Declan. I also think there'd be rivers of hardness inside of Declan, rivers of stubborn pain. Everything is hued with Catholicism and mysticism.

He sometimes uses language and ideas he assumes to be universally felt in one way but is felt directly the opposite for people like me. Am I the only one who feels this way? He asked me to tell him what was different about his two books in this Mink River universe, and what worked for me.


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Is there a way to write religious community in a universal way? I think one way to get to something like that is to rely more on individual personalities and how they relate to each other as individuals instead of how they relate to each other based on the shared experience of Catholicism and religious experience. I love his work quite a bit and I get so frustrated when the religion stuff gets in the way of my being able to read him with my heart open and asking.

I fully recommend it. Brian is in love with books and words and anybody who loves books and words should go out and read this book. Thanks for this beautiful book. Feb 28, Skip rated it it was ok. Lots of people love this book. I read a few pages, gave up, and then toughed it out. For me, Brian Doyle's chaotic, stream of conscious writing style overshadowed some memorable characters. One reader summarized by saying "seemingly-mismatched puzzle pieces slowly aligning themselves to form a powerful tapestry It's a modern art approach to writing where the goal isn't always a specific image but rather a mood.

There were two unforgettable characters: one who wanted to create a country called Pacifica to create a country integrating all of the hundreds of islands, cultures and resources of the Pacific Ocean, and the Pipster, a young girl who suffered a horrific accident, but seems to understand more of the world around her than her shipmates. Good guys, bad guys. A touch of danger. Multiple threads gradually coming together. In short, a story that I want to hear. Diverse and deep.

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At one level, they feel just like people I've met in real life. At another level, they're fascinating in how unlike they are to anyone I've ever known. Oh, the books I've groaned my way through due to awful dialog. I don't care how serious the topic of your story is. I can't think of any book I've ever loved that didn't make me laugh out loud at least a few times. Do Items 1- 5 well, and you have something solid. Do them with language that makes the reader keep wanting to turn to the person next to them and say "Listen to this sentence," partly to share the beauty and partly for the joy of feeling that language on the lips and tongue -- do that and you have something magical.

Find me a book that hits all six of those and hits them hard, and I'll give it five stars. Oh, look Apr 11, Maria Tizon rated it it was amazing. The Plover piqued my curiosity instantly. Firstly, because I had no idea what a plover was. Its a bird, in case you don't know either Secondly, because the small paper plaque that was posted under the book on the shelf at Powell's told me that it was about a man setting off from the Oregon Coast and heading west because he was tired of people and all their people problems.

I love that idea. Sometimes, you pick up a book and you know, right then and there, that you have to read it. I started re The Plover piqued my curiosity instantly. I started reading while in line to board my plane. Somewhere between Portland and San Diego, I became absolutely enamored with Dec and the gull who flew 9 feet above the stern of the Plover.

This joyous, beautiful novel engaged all of my senses, I could see the green trawler with its tattered red sail, the blue water, the sunfish and its giant eye.


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I could hear the water lapping, Pipa pipping and the laughter of the crew members who came to The Plover for their own reasons and had their own unique stories. I could taste those desiccated almonds, smell the salty air, feel the sand between my toes. More importantly, This was my first time reading Brian Doyle. It most certainly will not be the last. In fact, Mink River is on its way to me now as I write this. Doyle's writing style is a wonder and a stream of consciousness that flows right into your mind and heart.

The Plover by Brian Doyle is a unique kind of book. If you liked Mink River, this book is even better. Reading The Plover is kind of like having someone quietly whisper to your soul. This is one of those books that perfectly encapsulates why I love to read. It is a friendly voice wh The Plover by Brian Doyle is a unique kind of book. It is a friendly voice who invites himself into your brain. You offer him a seat in a comfy armchair and bring him a warm cup of coffee in exchange for his story.

And when the story is done, he will have to leave, and tears will fall down your face, but he will say it is the way it has to be, the way it has always been, and he will kiss you on the forehead and remind you, that really, he is not so far away, and goodbye is never forever. After he is gone, you will see his coffee cup resting on the side table, with the faint, tan stain of his lips, and you will know that his gentle voice is still a quiet whisper in your brain, if you really listen.

My only complaints would be his fatuitous love affair with the word infinitesimal and a few other repetitive words that seemed redundant rather than emphatic in nature. I also wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who doesn't particularly want to think while they read. This book will require all of the beautiful and remote corners of your brain. If you let your mind wander, even for just a moment, you more than likely will have to reread a few sentences, because you will have completely lost your way. Jan 21, Chris rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction.

What a discovery that you find yourself congratulating yourself over and feel compelled to spread the word about. I discovered this book while weeding our collection. Surprisingly it's only less than a year old and no one had read it. It's another hidden gem. It's got some great writing and lines like: "Maybe the ocean feels every boat like a scar on its skin and only permits them to pass so that its knowledge of men deepe What a discovery that you find yourself congratulating yourself over and feel compelled to spread the word about. It's got some great writing and lines like: "Maybe the ocean feels every boat like a scar on its skin and only permits them to pass so that its knowledge of men deepens"-page or "Another time the sky was so stuffed with stars and so many of them shooting stars that you would swear the stars were plummeting into the sea faster than the sea could drink them"-page It's an epic journey of man solo across the Pacific but not for long when friends and strangers join him for a meandering detour that's called life.

It's real and surreal with the magic realism. There's a dreamer and there's a villain. There's revenge and redemption. There's solitude and community.