Martin Marten

Thomas Dunne: St. Martin's. Apr. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781455557103. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781455557127. F
OrangeReviewStar"And he is only one of a million, no, a billion stories you could tell about the living beings on just this side of the mountain," says Doyle (Mink River) in his lovely new book. He's talking about a marten—and not even Martin Marten of the title, a nicely burnished golden brown creature who helps his sister at birth, gets lessons in survival from his sure-footed mother, observes the fate of his wayward brothers, and eventually goes out on his own, even as he and a boy named Dave circle each other in friendly fashion. Like Martin, Dave lives on Oregon's Mount Hood, which he calls by its Native American name, Wy'east, and though he's not quite ready to separate from his family, as Martin does by instinct, he is growing up: heading to high school, where he will be a track star, and getting a job to help his family. There are crises large and small—a child lost in the woods, Martin's surprise fight with that one-in-a-billion-stories-marten—but this telling of at least some of Wy'east's tales flows along absorbingly, avoiding sentiment while imparting a quiet acceptance of the rhythms of the natural and human worlds.
VERDICT Highly recommended; even city slickers can love. [See Prepub Alert, 10/13/14.]

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