Brian Doyle – A Friend I Never Knew

Author Brian Doyle was my good friend, although I never met him. Of course, I often say that my own books define me as a human being.  If that is true, Brian Doyle can certainly say that his books define him as a human being, so I suppose I truly have met him.  I did send him an email years ago after I read his book So Very Much the Best of Us. It was the first of many Doyle books I read. Truth be told, ‘twas the cover that attracted me to the book, but once inside the covers, I found the cover a mere shadow of the stories that awaited me in the pages. Mr. Doyle made me comfortable with my imperfect Catholicism and encouraged me to laugh at my own failings. Few authors can do that.

Last week, I finished another of his magical books, Martin Marten. Two days later, I gave it to my young friends Cat and Stephanie who came to visit our new puppy, Clarence. They are special kids, and I know they will enjoy this ‘coming of age’ story.

I inadvertently left Mink River on American Airlines as I hastily departed the aircraft in Port-au-Prince. I truly hope a Haitian will read it.

Only the Good Die Young

Brian Doyle, self-portrait

This morning, I searched for a new Brian Doyle book and found The Adventures of John Carson in Several Quarters of the World: A Novel of Robert Louis Stevenson. I love Mr. Doyle’s quirkiness. I was stopped in my tracks as I read the commentary on the Amazon listing,

BRIAN DOYLE (1956-2017) was the longtime editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, and the author of numerous books of essays, fiction, poems, and nonfiction, among them the novels Mink River, The Plover, Martin Marten, and Chicago. Honors for his work include the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award in Literature. He lived in Portland, Oregon.

Past tense leapt off the page … ‘was’ … ‘he lived.’

Confused, I continued to research this fine author and learned that he died in May 2017 of a brain tumor. He was only 60-years old.

Mr. Doyle was a prolific writer with more than 20 books to his credit and countless editorials and essays. If you have never read a Brian Doyle book, you can find one here. Each is a gem in its own, special way.

Billy Joel was right, “Only the good die young.”

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