Book Review #1

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Perhaps off the subjects of foraging, food and family…but I think this still fits the blog, at least from a literary standpoint. Instead of just trying to publicize my own book and events, I thought I’d try to  talk about other authors’ books from time to time. So here goes…

Remember that old tv series Northern Exposure? Well, imagine if an entire season was written by James Joyce, and instead of a tv show, it was a novel. Okay, maybe a stretch there, but that’s what I thought as I read Brian Doyle’s Mink River. An unusual and beautiful mix of small-town Northwest–quirky characters and all–written with a decidedly Irish sensibility and style. Oh, and toss in a dash of magic realism to round it all out. (note: I’m not usually a big fan of magic realism, but it works for me here.)

Beyond the wise and philosophical talking crow and the two-man Public Works Department that feels its duty goes way beyond fixing roads and maintaining water lines to actually helping their fellow citizens on an emotional level, this book is about the healing power of community and the natural world. To read it is to be fully absorbed into the woods and waters of the Pacific Northwest and the town of Neawanaka, and to know the people who live there as if they were close personal friends. This is a book to savor, and a story that will stay with you for a long time.

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