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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-08-08
- Reviewer: Staff
After the release of his first novel (Mink River) last year, Doyle, editor of the award-winning Portland Magazine at the University of Portland in Oregon, returns to the finely honed nature writing and memoir that three times earned him inclusion in anthologies of the Best American Spiritual Writing. This new montage of 37 short essays is like surf casting with a well-weighted jig into the cold, wild Pacific—you never quite know how deep you will go. In “The Genius of American Catholicism,” he inquires, “Isn’t belief that hope defeats despair a wild leap like the ones we take when we commit to marriage, to a vocation, to a tumultuous democracy?” With a fresh, relaxed, often humorous tone, Doyle provides an alluring mix of Annie Dillard’s eye for mystery, Mary Oliver’s contemplative paeans, and Kathleen Norris’s unerring liturgical compass. But he doesn’t shy away from harsh subjects: pornography, getting shot, and September 11. With two Pushcart prizes and a national award in literature, Doyle brings a steady hand to his craft. Even more delightful is the playful generosity he offers readers and his revival of a smart, invigorating American Catholic voice. (Oct.)