Rediscover: Brian Doyle

Oregon author and Portland magazine editor Brian Doyle died last month at age 60. He is perhaps best known for the novel Mink River (2010), a perennial book club favorite set in Neawanaka, a fictional small town on the coast of Oregon. The Plover (2014) follows a world-weary sailor whose lonesome maritime wandering is interrupted by a cast of human and animal shipmates. Martin Marten (2015) is a coming-of-age story in two connected parts: one about a 14-year-old boy living on Oregon's Mt. Hood (or Wy'east, as its original inhabitants called it), the other about Martin, a pine marten leaving its family for the first time. Chicago (2016) is a love letter to "the Great American City," in which a college grad spends five seasons living on the city's north side.

Doyle's novels, short stories ("Bin Laden's Bald Spot") and essays ("Children and Other Wild Animals") are heartfelt, often humorous works influenced by his own spirituality. Doyle's most recent book, The Adventures of John Carson in Several Quarters of the World: A Novel of Robert Louis Stevenson (Thomas Dunne, $25.99, 9781250100528), was published on March 28. It is based on a real idea for a novel left unwritten by Stevenson, who imagined turning his San Francisco landlady's tales of her soldier/seaman husband into an adventure story. Doyle-as-Stevenson follows John Carson from the Civil War to Borneo while exploring 1880s California, all in tribute to a lost style of storytelling. --Tobias Mutter

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