Brian Doyle, Mink River: A Novel, (Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press.), 2010
A story about a town is a story about more than place. It is a story of people. Brian Doyle has a knack for character development that not only makes you like the people. You find a way to identify with them - perhaps even love them. I don't think that is too strong of a word for the way the story makes the town come alive with its complex blend of native and newcomer, Old world survivor and new world indigenous each carry strains of their stories that become intertwined into a story of the connections between hard times in Ireland and hard times for Pacific tribes.
Of course we know it is a novel. The talking crow has far too much capacity for independent thought. Crows are smart, but one has to marvel at the creativity of the mind that can make a talking crow who suffers a disability as a result of an accident and becomes a credible character. I'm still now sure how Doyle makes it work, but it does work.
This book is a wonderful story that is so well told that I was tempted to pick it up and read it again as soon as I finished. I don't say that about many novels. It was a complete treat.