Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Mink River"

Brian Doyle's books include Thirsty for the Joy: Australian and American Voices, Epiphanies and Elegies, The Wet Engine, and the new story collection Bin Laden's Bald Spot & Other Stories.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his novel Mink River, and reported the following:
I note with a grin, page 69 pretty much catches a lot of what’s happening in the book – some of a bear’s life in the spruce hills, some Gaelic, some stories of the Irish diaspora washing up on the wet wild Oregon coast, some hints of pain and grace, a dad telling stories to his son in the dark of a room where the boy is recovering from having his legs smashed in an accident in the woods – all in all, a shockingly representative page. The book’s about Oregonness, essentially, and uses Salish-speaking people (the tongue spoken here for thousands of years, before all its speakers died), the Irish arrival (especially as dairymen) after the Hunger, and the woods, and animals of every sort, and fish, and rain, and mud, and stories, and dreams, and a crow acting something like a stage manager, to try to stutter something real and piercing about Oregon character and flavor and grace under duress. Something like that. On the other hand, what do I know? I just committed the novel like an inky sin – it wanted to be told, I sometimes think, and I was chosen, as the nearest available fast typist.
Read more about Mink River at the publisher's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

Writers Read: Brian Doyle.

--Marshal Zeringue