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Mary Gentry Writes

The works of Brian Doyle

Recently, I have been reading books by Brian Doyle, a Portland writer who has been the editor of PORTLAND, the magazine for the University of Portland for many years.  Best known for his essays and poetry, this summer I read Mink River and The Plover, two “whopping headlong novels” to quote Mr. Doyle himself.

I was completely caught up in both novels, engaged with the characters and engrossed by the twists and turns of plot.  What a winning combination – an Irish raconteur with the voice of a poet and an ear to the soul.

I also read and enjoyed The Grail, a collection of essays about the year Doyle spent hanging out in an Oregon vineyard in search of the perfect Pinot Noir.  As reading material, essays are high on my list. The Grail was particularly interesting to me as my brother’s family owns and operates, Winter’s Hill Wine and Vineyard, in Dundee, Oregon.

Brian Doyle is the inaugural speaker for the Les Bailey Writer’s Series and will give a free public presentation October 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the Worthington Center on the Saint Martin’s University campus.  Treat yourself to an entertaining evening and bring a friend.

Other Authors I’m Reading

I have long been a devotee of procedural detective fiction.  Recently Scandinavian writers have enjoyed a dominant presence in that genre.  I raced through the Stieg Larsson novels, then ate up all the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo, even though I was growing weary of Harry’s on going battle with alcoholism, I kept coming back for more.

This summer my friend Steve Bean introduced me to a Danish writer in the same vein, Jussi Adler-Olson.  His novels have all of the darkness of Larsson and Nesbo, delightfully lightened with humor.  Detective Carl Mork has a messy life – complicated by a self absorbed stepson, a nutty estranged wife, and his two singular assistants, Rose and Assad.

They all play off each other delightfully and the comic relief is welcome, as the cases Mork is assigned to are horrific.  The Keeper of Lost Causes is the first in this Department ‘Q’ series and I recommend starting there.  I just finished The Conspiracy of Faith and intend to bring his latest book, The Marco Effect, on my next road trip.

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