The Plover

Thomas Dunne: St. Martin's. Apr. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781250034779. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250034786. F
OrangeReviewStarAt the end of Doyle's previous novel, Mink River, Declan O'Donnell sets sail from the Oregon coast with an unwritten future. This is a detailed account of that voyage. At the outset of his journey, Declan has no destination, just a simple desire to live out childhood dreams on the high seas. His only companion on the trip is a watchful seagull with which he shares his philosophical musings on life. These moments of Melvillian pondering hint at adventure meaning more to Declan than a mere boyhood fantasy. His solitude is short-lived, though, as the tiny boat is slowly inhabited by an eclectic cast of characters. From castaways to a former friend, the crew on the ship become a surrogate family for Declan, ultimately forcing him to question his rugged individualism.
VERDICT Doyle (editor, Portland Magazine) has written a novel in the adventurous style of Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson but with a gentle mocking of their valorization of the individual as absolute. Readers will enjoy this bracing and euphoric ode to the vastness of the ocean and the unexpectedness of life. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/13.]

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