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Staff Picks: Books

Chicago

Chicago is Brian Doyle’s most recent novel. It almost doesn't seem like a novel at all, but a series of poetic vignettes and character sketches. It very much reminds me of his essays, in which his joyful and generous spirit is clear through humorous, vivid, and sometimes fantastical observations about his family, sports, nature, and life in general. The narrator of Chicago is a recent college graduate who has just moved to the city for work, and the book mostly describes his encounters with the people who live in his apartment building and his own explorations of the city. Knowing Doyle’s writing, it’s pretty clear the narrator is based on the author, and his love for the city is obvious and believable.

I may not be entirely impartial because I grew up outside Chicago during the time of the novel (it takes place over a little more than a year in the late 70’s), so it was a nostalgic read. However, you don’t need to know the place to be charmed by the many colorful characters, especially Edward the dog.

Sadly, Doyle was diagnosed with a brain tumor last fall, and I fear he might not be writing anything new, but I encourage you to look up his body of work, which includes several novels and many collections of stories, essays, and poetry.



Chicago

(Books, Fiction) Permanent link

Chicago is Brian Doyle’s most recent novel. It almost doesn't seem like a novel at all, but a series of poetic vignettes and character sketches. It very much reminds me of his essays, in which his joyful and generous spirit is clear through humorous, vivid, and sometimes fantastical observations about his family, sports, nature, and life in general. The narrator of Chicago is a recent college graduate who has just moved to the city for work, and the book mostly describes his encounters with the people who live in his apartment building and his own explorations of the city. Knowing Doyle’s writing, it’s pretty clear the narrator is based on the author, and his love for the city is obvious and believable.

I may not be entirely impartial because I grew up outside Chicago during the time of the novel (it takes place over a little more than a year in the late 70’s), so it was a nostalgic read. However, you don’t need to know the place to be charmed by the many colorful characters, especially Edward the dog.

Sadly, Doyle was diagnosed with a brain tumor last fall, and I fear he might not be writing anything new, but I encourage you to look up his body of work, which includes several novels and many collections of stories, essays, and poetry.

Posted by Kit Almy at 02/16/2017 12:32:20 PM