Brian Doyle was an unusually gifted storyteller, and it is very bittersweet and perfect that his last book is, at its core, all about the gift of storytelling. This is Doyle’s take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s planned-but-unwritten novel about the great Scottish author’s time in 1880s San Francisco. Stevenson was living in a boarding house in San Francisco while waiting for his beloved to be divorced. He dreamed of writing a novel about his landlady’s adventurous sea-faring husband, but the novel was never written. He spends his days wandering the streets of San Francisco and his evenings by the fire listening to tales of Carson’s global adventures. This is Doyle’s tribute to Stevenson, and to stories that need to be told. This is quite different from Doyle’s other books and their “musical” and free-flowing writing style — this reads very true to its time and what you might expect of RLS’s style in the 1800s. I loved this novel as much as I have his other writing, and will miss him as an author — but his stories will live on.
–Sandy, Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis, OR