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Martin Marten

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  1,371 ratings  ·  340 reviews
Dave is fourteen years old, eager, and headlong. He is about to start high school, which is scary and alluring. Martin is a pine marten, a small, muscled hunter of the deep woods. He is about to leave home for the first time, which is scary and thrilling. Both of these wild animals are setting off on adventures on their native Mount Hood in Oregon, and their lives, paths, ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 12th 2016 by Picador (first published April 7th 2015)
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Brian Because the author is a doofus who loves the way inarguably looks on the page; and because probably deep in his soul he suspects nothing is actually…moreBecause the author is a doofus who loves the way inarguably looks on the page; and because probably deep in his soul he suspects nothing is actually inarguable except the greatness of Larry Bird, and so he likes to use the words to state silliness boldly. brian doyle(less)
Steve Phillips That's a tough one. Martin Marten is written in a very unusual voice. A lot of the vocabulary and the style in general is probably not going to work…moreThat's a tough one. Martin Marten is written in a very unusual voice. A lot of the vocabulary and the style in general is probably not going to work very well for young kids. I think, however, this would be a really great book for a family to read together out loud, because there would be a lot of things to discuss, including the vocabulary. I certainly don't think there is material in the book that would be objectionable for kids, but no doubt somebody will disagree. I'm eager to promote this book to the teens in the library where I work, and I will be curious to see how well it goes over. I would say the main audience for this book will be adults who read for the joy of great writing.
All that said, I would not hesitate to hand this book to a child. If it is over the kid's head he or she will put it down and move on with no harm done.
Martin Marten is an incredible book. I cannot possibly recommend it highly enough. Enjoy!(less)

Community Reviews

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4.34  · 
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 ·  1,371 ratings  ·  340 reviews


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Nikki
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another splendid book from Brian Doyle. I swear he makes me nicer and smarter with each book of his that I read... Reading him somehow makes me feel that everything will be all right, and lets me think and know more about the natural parts of the world we live in. The books are filled with joy but not sloppy sentimental stuff. There is bone and gristle here, too, but it all fits together. Beautifully. 11 hundred stars out of 5.
Esil
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an opportunity to read Martin Marten. Last year I had the good fortune to win Brian Doyle's The Plover from a First Reads giveaway. And to my surprise I was completely enchanted by Doyle's quirky style and vision. So I was quite happy to have a chance to read an advance copy of Doyle's upcoming book and again I was enchanted. It is about Martin -- a young marten --yes the animal -- and Dave -- a teenage boy -- who live in a tiny community called ZigZa ...more
Julie
This was the book selected for my city's annual summer read, and what a selection! It is not often that I give a book five stars, but this book is so beautifully written that I knew even before I finished it that it would be more than worthy of every one of those five stars. I won't tell you the details of the plot here, just get yourself a copy and discover it for yourself.

Update 7/26/16: Last night was the author presentation for Lake Forest Park Reads, and author Brian Doyle was a delight! Hi
...more
sarah  morgan
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I'll state right up front that I'm a die-hard Brian Doyle fan, and this book is one reason why. Rather than go on and on about it, I'll just say it's magical, it could be life-altering--if you let it-- and it's just a damned good story. As Barbara McMichael deftly observed in her review, "OK, here are the ground rules: with the new novel _Martin Marten_, you’re going to have to suspend cynicism. You’ll need to relax all your 'impossible' rules, curl yourself up in your favorite readi ...more
Dianah
"Martin Marten" does for Mt. Hood what "Mink River" did for the Oregon coast; that is, it somehow shows just how whimsical and quaint a small town can be, and to such a degree that you fall in love with Doyle's version of this place and secretly want to live there. Martin Marten follows the lives of two inhabitants of "the Zag" near Rhododendron on Mt. Hood: an adolescent boy named Dave and a marten named Martin (just go with it!). Told in Doyle's distinctive attention to minute details and thin ...more
Laura
This is a story about everyday miracles. The author excels at getting into the minds of wild creatures and making human-animal interaction that some may scoff at believable. If you enjoy a little magical realism, love nature, and enjoy spending time in a small mountain town with real people, you would probably really like this book!

A few notes: I thought the pacing was a little off in this. Something pretty heart-stopping happens about halfway through, and something a little less impactful a li
...more
Cheri
This is the first book I've read since Brian Doyle died, and again, as I read his words, I was struck by what an empty spot Doyle left behind. From all accounts he was a good man, a good husband, a good father, a good friend. But for me, what I feel is the loss of an amazing writer.

I have read nothing like this. Martin Marten is pure Doyle, and it was so delicious to slip into his rolling sentences, to shift from animal to human to things that are not and yet are. In these pages are the pangs of
...more
Judy
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Doyle's writing is like jumping into a pool of happiness. It fills me with wonder. The story about the coming-of-age of a boy and a young marten on the slopes of Mt. Hood is only the container for the love I wish existed among us all. I strongly recommend this book and another of his, Mink River.
Doyle is an engaging speaker. If you get a chance go listen to him.

Helen
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were many things I liked about this book. I appreciated the unusual narrative style, where an omniscient narrator commented on not only the characters' actions, but on elements of the Oregon mountain environment. At times, though, this style distanced me from the characters and became precious instead of illuminating.
Cheryl Ames
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved Doyle’s story-telling style, his flowing sentences and thoughts. I almost could feel him telling the story directly to me. The philosophy about life throughout the book provide wonderful gems for thinking. And I want to be on a trail or in my kayak by myself and have a momentary connection with an animal.... I’m off for a hike!
Kmalbie
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I am so sad he is gone. His books are great to listen to, he usually narrates them himself.
HereAndNow
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most unique books I‘ve ever read.
Ariel
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: would-read-again
This BOOK. So unlike the majority of other books I’ve read recently. It felt tender and kind. Not saccharine, and not twee, but a sweet story of a place and people that we all should aspire to (well, in ways). There is something deep about this book (and maybe unwritten?) that gets to the values I want my life to revolve around. I will say it was a slow burn for me in the beginning, but by the end, I was all hearts-for-eyes. Let’s build this. Big hat tip to Stasia for her review and recommendati ...more
Alan
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Realists, aerialists, traditionalists, and other -list lovers of any description
Recommended to Alan by: Previous experience, and the locallest of local colors
I actually read a fair chunk of Brian Doyle's novel Martin Marten while camping in the very region it describes—in the Lost Creek campground, to be precise, up Lolo Pass Road just a few miles beyond the wide spot of Route 26 that is the real-life community of Zigzag. Doyle is careful to disclaim any relationship between reality's Zigzag and his version, though—and I agree with that disclaimer. Doyle's Zigzag is a gentle, magical place, where benign quirkiness and pure motivations are the rule—a ...more
Kate
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Had I known this was coming, I wouldn't have given the other books that I read this year five stars but of course I did know it was coming. I had it on preorder for months.When has a third novel ever surpassed the author's first? Yes for Madeline L'Engle and Louise Penny – I'll give you that. Did Bryan Doyle's high school yearbook say "The guy least likely to be attacked by a bear due to his extraordinary capacity for observation?" So rich are the writings and stories, like butter or Brie, that ...more
Annie
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. It was an unexpected joy so I'm hesitant to rave about it in order to give you some of the same thrill of discovery. Here's what you do: wait until you have the time and headspace to really savor this book and sink under the spell of the writing. Give it a few chapters to settle in. It's a coming-of-age story about a teenage boy growing up in Oregon and a young marten (yes, an animal, that kind of marten) growing up in the forest nearby. (Don't let that put you off--I've never b ...more
Judy
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brian Doyle is a remarkable writer. His unending words scurry and scramble over every page, offering the kind of information you never expect in a novel. His story about Wy'east (Mt. Hood) country, its residents, both human and otherwise, is exuberant, wise and wonderful.
Sheila
Brian Doyle evokes the life of a marten just as deftly and convincingly as he does that of his teenaged protagonist, skirting the boundaries of anthropomorphism so perfectly that you’ll believe you know how a marten might feel. Maybe you (an adult reader) might learn how a teenager feels too, though the book is really written for teens—perhaps they’re trying, like Dave, to understand adulthood.

Martin Marten is a coming of age story, but so much more. The ages of the forest weave into the age of
...more
Kristi Richardson
“The fact is that there are more stories in the space of a single second, in a single square foot of dirt and air and water, then we could tell in a hundred years.”

This is my favorite book of the year so far. I have read over 200 books so that is a pretty amazing fact. Brian Doyle was a local author, I found his obituary for his death in 2017 while I was reading his book and trying to find more of his books to devour. So I will have a limited number to read. So sad.

This book is a cross between a
...more
Nancy
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Best way I can describe the wonder of this book is to say that Annie Dillard would love it! Martin Marten is a novel full of the intriguing and profound observations of the natural world that Dillard is so good at.
Like her, Brian Doyle philosophizes, “Perhaps the less we think we know, the wiser we are and the closer to actual understanding we get. Perhaps the more we learn, abashed and humble, about the ways other beings think, the closer we get to other ways of living” (69).

But beyond observat
...more
Mariah Farbo
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not really sure there is one word to describe how much I enjoyed this book- it's magical, lovely, quirky, lovable, sweet, reflective, beautiful and complete all at once. It's as if you captured a year in a moving snow globe; It's so small and doesn't look like much from far away but when you really look at it you see tiny intricate details that you never would have noticed had you just hurried by. It makes you appreciate all aspects of life, especially nature, animals and community (which ma ...more
Kat
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started with great promise, but got a bit tiresome by the end. Great complex, likable characters. Beautiful descriptions of life around Mt. Hood (both animal and human). When describing thoughts, settings, actions, etc., the author used long lists of attributes. I began skipping those as they became tedious to read. Also, why no quotation marks for dialogue?

Worth reading, especially if you live in the PNW or are a fan of mountain living and nature.

Chana
This book is filled with good, meaningful, emotionally moving narrative. It was like being in a class where the teacher, a philosopher and naturalist, will just not give up on impressing us intellectually and morally, writing character building scenes on every page. Probably just me but I reacted by listening to lots of loud music heavy on the repetitive bass. Even through the heavy bass line I can hear him telling me about life and death, people, animals, relationships, mountain life.... . I wa ...more
Mary Beth
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. Brian Doyle's fiction is like a long walk in the forests I love, and I find myself thinking in his voice while I watch the birds and squirrels around my house. I loved this ode to Wy'east (Mt. Hood) with all its life and death and beauty and destruction and all the hidden lives that ebb and flow outside of human knowledge.
Donna
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful coming-of-age story of Dave, a 14 year old boy juxtaposed with the coming-of-age story of Martin, a marten in and around a mountain town near Mount Hood. Doyle's lovely descriptions of the natural world and cast of lovable characters make this a sweet read. The narration is rather quirky-- we readers are pulled into the story as Doyle directly addresses us, and it works.
Bonnie Shuster
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and every character and creature in it. Pure joy.
Marjorie
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I’m very conflicted about how I feel about this book. On one hand, I loved its beauty and its connection with humans, animals, trees and nature. It struck me emotionally so many times. I laughed and I cried. I felt each of the characters were known to me, both human and animal, and I wished many times that I could be part of their circle. Dave, Maria, Martin the Marten, Miss Moss, Mr. Douglas, Edwin the Horse, Unable Lady, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson – all characters that I hated to say goodbye to at ...more
Jean
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I dreaded reaching the end of this book. I had come to know and love the characters; and Martin the marten was in his prime but the trapper was still doing his work. This is a delightful story of a loosely-woven community at the base of Mt. Hood, including not only humans but thousands of species of animals and plants. Rocks are also mentioned.

The main characters--Martin the marten (small member of the wolverine/fisher family) and Dave, a fourteen year old human come of age in this novel. Do the
...more
Connie Faull
The premise of this book intrigued me, I can't remember where I saw this book but when I did I immediately put it on hold at my library. This is a YA novel about Dave, who is 14 and getting ready to start high school, Martin (who is a pine marten, a relative of the wolverine) is getting ready to leave his mother's den and go out on his own, and the little Oregon mountain town where they live. It is a 3rd party narration, but I felt like this type of narration might have kept the characters at a ...more
Joanna
You guys. I wanted to LOVE this book. And I did love some things about it. I just had a really hard time with the blend of really solid realistic nature writing, deeply held philosophical ideas that I don't hold (it hurts a carrot when you eat it, for example), and the combination of deep interior lives for the animals in the story with fairly surface descriptions of the interior lives of the humans in the story. The narrator of this work would tell me that's because I am human-centric, and I th ...more
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Doyle's essays and poems have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, The American Scholar, Orion, Commonweal, and The Georgia Review, among other magazines and journals, and in The Times of London, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Kansas City Star, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Ottawa Citizen, and Newsday, among other newspapers. He was a book reviewer for The Oregonian and a contributing es ...more
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“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. The fact is that there are more stories in the space of a single second, in a single square foot of dirt and air and water, then we could tell in a hundred years. The word amazing isn't much of a word for how amazing it is. The fact is that there are more stories in the world than there are fish in the sea or birds in the air or lies among politicians. You could be sad at how many stories go untold, but you could also be delighted at how many stories we catch and share in delight and wonder and astonishment and illumination and sometimes even epiphany.” 8 likes
“I am a puzzle and a conundrum and a thunderstorm.” 6 likes
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