From a "born storyteller" (Seattle Times), this playful and moving bestselling book of essays invites us into the miraculous and transcendent moments of everyday life.
When Brian Doyle passed away at the age of sixty after a bout with brain cancer, he left behind a cult-like following of devoted readers who regard his writing as one of the best-kept secrets of the twenty-first century. Doyle writes with a delightful sense of wonder about the sanctity of everyday things, and about love and connection in all their forms: spiritual love, brotherly love, romantic love, and even the love of a nine-foot sturgeon.
At a moment when the world can sometimes feel darker than ever, Doyle's writing, which constantly evokes the humor and even bliss that life affords, is a balm. His essays manage to find, again and again, exquisite beauty in the quotidian, whether it's the awe of a child the first time she hears a river, or a husband's whiskers that a grieving widow misses seeing in her sink every morning. Through Doyle's eyes, nothing is dull.
David James Duncan sums up Doyle's sensibilities best in his introduction to the collection: "Brian Doyle lived the pleasure of bearing daily witness to quiet glories hidden in people, places and creatures of little or no size, renown, or commercial value, and he brought inimitably playful or soaring or aching or heartfelt language to his tellings." A life's work, One Long River of Song invites readers to experience joy and wonder in ordinary moments that become, under Doyle's rapturous and exuberant gaze, extraordinary.
The life and work of Doyle (A Book of Uncommon Prayer), the late writer and long-serving editor of Portland Magazine, are honored with this fine collection of his essays. Longtime friend and writer David James Duncan (The Brothers K) begins with an intimate introduction that situates Doyle as a literary cult figure: not popularly known, but passionately admired by some for his distinctive punctuation-defying verbal flow and his everyday epiphanies. Doyle, who died of brain cancer in 2017, trained his perceptive eye on a wide range of subjects during his career, but frequently wrote on wildlife (such as hummingbirds and sturgeon), the nature of family, and the relationship between creativity and spirituality. Doyle's curiosity is insatiable ("you see an owl launch at dusk, like a burly gray dream against the last light, you flinch a little, and are awed...") and his self-described Celtic-mystic disposition spots the transcendent regularly ("Time stutters and reverses and it is always yesterday and today"). As much haunted by the language of James Joyce as the lessons of Jesus, Doyle sees and celebrates what happens every day in each essay of this eclectic collection. This "best-of" should enlarge his circle of admirers. \n