One Long River of Song: Notes on Wonder (Hardcover)
Portland novelist Brian Doyle was also the author of many essays, poems, and prayers, some of which appear in this posthumously published collection. A frequent visitor to Seattle, he shared his deep connections—to loved ones, the natural world, and the mysteries of life—through writing meant to be contemplated and read aloud. A Catholic writer, he wrote of the twin sides of his church: “one a noun, one a verb” and of “finding ways to walk through the bruises of life with grace and humility.” I can’t imagine a more sympathetic companion for readers on the journey. -Karen— From Winter Gazette 2019
About the Author
Brian Doyle (1956-2017) was born in New York and attended the University of Notre Dame. He worked at U.S. Catholic Magazine, Boston College Magazine and, up until his death, was the editor of Portland Magazine. He wrote a number of novels and works of nonfiction, and his essays appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's Orion, American Scholar, America Magazine, and many more. He won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, the 2017 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing, the Oregon Book Award, three Pushcart Prizes, among others, and had multiple essays included in Best American Essays.
"Astonishing... gorgeous... Doyle was a writer 'made of love and song and amusement.' Every living thing intrigued him and was worthy of his powerful capacity for study and his equally powerful capacity for celebration."—Margaret Renkl, New York Times
"A final collection of Doyle's lyrical, sometimes mystical pieces about life and its gifts. Doyle often used his Catholicism to explore the human and natural worlds, but this is perhaps the most generous, universal 'religious writing' you'll ever read."—Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post
"Both ecstatic and sober...This posthumous collection dances on the edge of mortality, tossing out exaltations and questions, and offering a fresh, playful, slant on spiritual writing...a celebration of life, love, and waking each day."—Jane Ciabattari, BBC
"The first pleasure of reading Doyle lies in being swept away by the deft melding of his two most distinctive qualities, his sentences and his sensibility. How he loved sentences. And how he loved the world. Form and content never fit more hand in glove...I don't know a writer who more reliably or with such seeming ease plucks genuine epiphanies fresh from the ether. The ubiquity of these is testament to Doyle's craft or, perhaps, the quality of his attention...One Long River of Song demonstrates what Doyle's writing has always demonstrated, that when you find the courage to pay attention and be open to love, you can trust that 'doing your chosen work with creativity and diligence will shiver people far beyond your ken.'"—Scott F. Parker, The Oregonian
"A wonder-filled book... Doyle's essays often wriggle with wild miracles... Doyle's greatest gift may be the quiet wisdom that grows out of his senses of humor and humility and gratitude... Reading this collection of essays will awaken readers to the everyday wonders of saying yes."—Tom Montgomery Fate, The Christian Century
"Brian's glowing essays create a vision of what a good person might be, what a good life surely is, a larger story of the transformative power of joyful gratitude."—Kathleen Dean Moore, Orion Magazine
"One Long River of Song celebrates life in all its iterations. Remarkable for their kindness and intelligence, their humanity and humor, these essays are a thoughtful antidote for the cheap cynicism present in so much of the media we consume."—Ann Cannon, Salt Lake Tribune
"The essays in One Long River of Song are truly staggering--as
close as stones in our palms, and as vast as the sky. Brian Doyle's voice is
full of tender pivots, keen wit, and startling joy, summoning all of us to pay
more passionate attention to the world."—Leslie Jamison, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Empathy Exams and The Recovering
collection of stunning mystical prose...Doyle's prose is so expansive and dripping
with visceral detail that even the briefest vignettes are often a wondrous
adventure. This brilliant compendium of spiritual musings will resonate with
people of any faith--or of none."—Kirkus (starred review)
posthumous collection [with] the rhythm of poems and the lyricism of songs...infused
with qualities of spirit, goodness, and grace. Doyle was a wonderful stylist...he
is generous, almost profligate in filling his work with [love]...readers will be
equally grateful for this lovely book and its beautiful contents."—Michael Cart, Booklist (starred review)
"An excellent, thought-provoking collection of essays that is likely to make you run out and pick up anything else he's written."—Ray Walsh, Lansing State Journal
curiosity is insatiable and his self-described Celtic-mystic disposition spots
the transcendent regularly. 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
"Dazzling... Doyle's writing bursts with vivid
descriptions...a renewed opportunity for more readers to discover the
insight and humanity of his work...Doyle's brand of theology will appeal to fans
of the work of writers like Anne Lamott...readers fortunate enough to
discover the many pleasures of Brian Doyle's work here will be grateful, too,
for that encounter."—Harvey Freedenberg, Shelf Awareness
Praise for Brian Doyle:
"Brian Doyle wrote more powerfully about faith than anyone in his generation."
"[Doyle's essays] were my favorites."
"We're in rough waters.... What we need are the old words, the ones that have lasted the longest: courage, love, reverence, justice. Whatever our metaphors, Brian, that's what the bunch of us you brought together were trying to say.... You walked in beauty, my dear friend."
—Barry Lopez, in a tribute written after Brian's death
"Almost nobody has written with the joy, the galloping energy, the quiet love of conscience and family and what's best in us, the living optimism."
"Brian's writing is the attempt to stare God in the eye."
—Jonathan Hiskes, Christian Century