Cover Image: One Long River of Song

One Long River of Song

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

One Long River of Song is an outstanding collection of essays that will alternately have you laughing from your innermost being and, in the next essay, leave you weeping, notwithstanding the fact that you are on public transit and surrounded by strangers. I found myself reading long passages to my family at the dinner table and copying parts to my commonplace book. The author was a person of great insight who could see the mystical aspects of everyday life like no other writer that I know of. His faith permeates many of these essays but will not overwhelm you whatever your religious orientation. His prose is remarkably descriptive and I frequently felt like I was in the midst of the situations he was describing. You get the feeling from this book that the author was the kind of person who you might meet at a party or bar (or refreshments at church) and instantly feel like you had met a trustworthy friend. 

The only downsides to this volume were that the essays were slightly uneven in quality (but you cannot hit home runs every time at bat, but doubles are nice, though), and he seems a bit obsessed and somewhat unthinking in his antipathy to firearms. But these are nits in the scheme of things! This book is a gem, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the human experience of friends, family, and faith.
Was this review helpful?
Like petty and shorts stories, I love essays because they allow one to dip in and out of reading whenever one wants. This one though I read even more slowly and with a certain amount of sadness, knowing this wonderful author passed on at the early age of sixty.

These essays are written with a sense of wonder, and grace. There is humor and sadness, wonder and delight. Stories of the last, when his wife gave birth to twin boys, one who would need more than one surgery. The difference in the boys as they grew, at night one held on tons stuffed animals, the other clung to a can of sardines. His young daughter and his observations of her younger days. Wonder at the things in the natural world. So beautifully done, poignant, the many things that make of a life.

"What do we really know well about any creature, including most of all ourselves, and how it is that even though we know painfully little about anything, we often manage world-wrenching hubris about our wisdom."

This author is another that will be missed.

ARC from Netgalley.
Was this review helpful?
An interesting mix of pieces from throughout Doyle's career -- from op-ed pieces to creative nonfiction essays about parenting -- which are always engaging, even if you don't agree with Doyle's views. His writings about God, nature and how divine presence appears throughout creation are particularly effective.
Was this review helpful?
Brian Doyle seems to have been a person who was in love with life, all aspects of life. And he seems to have lived his life fully. Doyle wrote novels and stories but essays, published in a variety of outlets, were his mainstay. Before his death in 2017, he agreed to having his friend David Duncan create this final collection of some of his essays.

The focus of many, if not most, of of his essays, here and elsewhere, is the spiritual realm and the natural world. For me, it appears that Doyle viewed the world through a spiritual lens so that even essays not overtly spiritual take on that tone. Not in any “heavy” or preaching manner, but more that of a constantly seeking, thankful and inquiring man.

Doyle loved the natural world, was especially fond of raptors and wrote about his interactions with glaring owls and swooping hawks. His sense of humor infiltrates his writing constantly, as does his love of family. All generations become subjects, lovingly. There is no meanness here, none at all. There may be unhappy or negative moments, but Doyle doesn’t deal in petty or repressive as so many do.

Brian Doyle is a man I wish I had known, a man I would have loved to talk with. Not at all sanctimonious, rather a man who appears to have had many of my questions of life but to have thought (and perhaps prayed) more on answers.

Highly recommended to all.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a beautiful book by the late Brian Doyle.  This collection of essays makes you look at the world in a different way.  It helps you see the beauty and wonder all around you.  

I was given a free copy of this book by NetGalley and have provided this review voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
This is a collection of essays written by the late Brian Doyle, who writes about nature, family, and faith.  This is my first exposure to his work and I was impressed by the peacefulness and humor infused in it.  I was especially interested to read that his son has a heart condition very similar to my own son so I will definitely read more of his books relevant to that.  I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a beautiful book. One that I will read over and over.
Brian relishes in the wonder and beauty of everyday things. He find simple things, examines them fully and relates them to us as beautiful moments.
I read Brian's devotions in Guideposts through the years and always enjoyed them. I am happy to have his thoughts now where I can go back and reread and ponder.
I received a complimentary copy from the NetGalley but the opinions and review are entirely my own.
Was this review helpful?