June 2011 Indie Next List
“In this novel, readers are treated to stories upon stories unfolding in a tiny town on the Oregon Coast. Deeply infused with both old Irish language and Native American tales, the portrait of Neawanaka is beautifully painted through the lives and loves of its inhabitants. They dream and scheme, fight with and turn to each other for support, grieve and heal, all as the river flows through their days. Mink River is a rich and magical read!”
— Sheryl Cotleur, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
Like Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood and Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, Brian Doyle's stunning fiction debut brings a town to life through the jumbled lives and braided stories of its people.
In a small fictional town on the Oregon coast there are love affairs and almost-love-affairs, mystery and hilarity, bears and tears, brawls and boats, a garrulous logger and a silent doctor, rain and pain, Irish immigrants and Salish stories, mud and laughter. There's a Department of Public Works that gives haircuts and counts insects, a policeman addicted to Puccini, a philosophizing crow, beer and berries. An expedition is mounted, a crime committed, and there's an unbelievably huge picnic on the football field. Babies are born. A car is cut in half with a saw. A river confesses what it's thinking. . .
It's the tale of a town, written in a distinct and lyrical voice, and readers will close the book more than a little sad to leave the village of Neawanaka, on the wet coast of Oregon, beneath the hills that used to boast the biggest trees in the history of the world.