One Long River of Song: Notes on Wonder

Little, Brown. Dec. 2019. 272p. ISBN 9780316492898. $27. REL
Philosopher Michel de Montaigne wrote essays in the 16th century as a form of self-exploration, seeking to examine small incidents in life in ways that drew unintuitive or enlightening conclusions. Nowhere is this endeavor better exemplified in recent times than with the writings of Doyle (1956-2017). In this collected volume of some of his most appreciated work, we see Doyle at his most mundane and profound. These two extremes, he suggests, are what make up the fabric of our existence. Doyle touches on the inherent spirituality in encounters he has with animals, trees, and people. As a positivist, Doyle focuses on the wondrous things that we have to be thankful for. Doyle was an unapologetic Catholic but not dogmatic; he saw holiness in a burbling stream, in the rapid beat of a hummingbird’s heart, and in the smile of his children.
VERDICT Doyle imparts a sense of breathless curiosity and joy in this blend of spirituality and philosophy; probing readers will find surprises and solace..
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