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The Mighty Currawongs

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A collection of headlong tales by Oregon author Brian Doyle exploring such riveting and peculiar topics as chess in the Levant, tailors who specialize in holes, how to report stigmata to your attending physician, the intense hilarity of basketball, how to have a bitter verbal marital fight in your car, an all-Chinese football team in Australia, soccer and Catholicism, what ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 26th 2016 by Red Hen Press
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Diane S ☔
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
The very first thing I noticed was that this author is a natural born storyteller. It is as of je was speaking to you across the table, narrating events he had witnessed or things he had heard. Maybe stories from his past or events in which he had been involved. They simply flowed that well, regardless of the subject.

Sports is a big subject, basketball, soccer, chess, Catholicism gets a few hits, music, but there are two that I found memorable, though I liked and enjoyed most of them. The basket
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019reads
Delightful, as per usual. A batch of little 2-4 page essays, with the usual amused smirk on his face, and giant depth of feeling underneath.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
A set of well written, but inconsistent short stories by a wonderful writer who died too young. His stories on religion and basketball are wonderful and “The Guest Speaker” about war and Viet Nam is exceptional. This book is not as endearing as his novel “Chicago: A Novel” but I will read more of his work.
Jul 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Meh. I would sit next to this guy in a bar and listen to him tell stories. The end.

A lot of these are short, which I found refreshing and much easier to get through. It's not that they're bad but just that I didn't really care about the subject material, and he didn't MAKE me care. I felt like he wasn't talking to me most of the time.

The chess stories about Elson touched me--to find meaning in the game and connection and life and history. Those were good stories. The rest I could take or leave.

Jonathan Hiskes
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brief comet trails of short fiction--3-to-5-page stories that launch an imaginative conceit (e.g., a children's play gone off the rails ...) and explore it quickly before flashing out of sight. Some won't like these fragmentary shards of stories, though they play to Doyle's strengths of playfulness and loose colloquial rants. Standouts are "The Archbishop Loses His Faith" and "Elson Habib, Playing White, Ponders His Opening Move." ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I'm generally not easily grabbed by short stories, so I'm always particularly pleased when I find some I like. I'd say these ranged from 3 stars to 5 stars, but a couple of those 5-star stories were just hit right out of the park (e.g., "The Guest Speaker"). ...more
Joe Stack
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I think this is a delightful short story collection of odd, strange, peculiar, quirky, & normal ways of love, friendships, aspirations, and other facets of the human condition that are told in writing that is humorous, sensitive, joyful, poignant, thoughtful, and of which at least one, but more likely more than one, will tug at your heart or make you laugh, so be forewarned if you are drinking at the time you are surprised by a humorous passage you may find yourself snorting out your drink and a ...more
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brian Doyle is a favorite author and I have enjoyed all of his novels and books of essays that come my way. The Mighty Currawongs is no exception. You can imagine my joy when I found out I was a grand prize winner/recipient of a free copy from The day the book came in the mail I was as excited as Ralphie Parker in Jean Shepard's Christmas Story when at long last his secret decoder ring arrives in his postal box. Did I pick the book up and immediately savor it? Yes and no. Weeks we ...more
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the second book I bought at a community memorial tribute to Mr. Doyle, held in October 2017. I plan on reading everything he wrote, so I'm glad he was so prolific!

Doyle has a unique voice, sometimes hilarious, sometimes somber, always tender toward the innumerable joys, griefs, challenges and everyday mundane silly frustrating unmissable moments of life. Here we find stories about the joys of basketball, chess, and faith/spirituality - always themes in Doyles' writing. We meet an aging
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories reads more like an album with overarching themes than it does a mixed tape with just a bunch of random great songs. Doyle seems to be at his best when he's finding beauty in the simplest of things and drawing out the moment in subtle-yet-delightful humor. And when you overlay that humor with Doyle's ability to be serious and sentimental (the hug between father and son at the end of "The Guest Speaker"), you have no choice but to keep turning page after page. ...more
Claudia Skelton
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
An engaging book of very short stories by the recently deceased award-winning author in Oregon. Short stories are an unfamiliar genre for me. Although I did not understand the story in every single piece, some made me weep. As noted by a reviewer, they are "well-crafted stories about everyday life." Yes, I agree. ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
Delightful and funny. Doyle is becoming one of my favorite authors.
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it

Brian Doyle is an excellent story teller. Love the oddness of his subjects and his sense of humor.
Vena Meridel
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
‘The elementary school Christmas musical production being on us again like a cougar on a fawn...’
Just the best. Pick it up immediately
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brian Doyle's second collection of short stories runs the gamut from highly amusing (Four Boston Basketball Stories; Dear Mum; A Note on the Actors; When You're Out of Schlitz, You're Out of Beer), wise (Chauncy Street; The New Bishop; Muirin), heartbreaking (This is the Part Where You Say Something Real; Mr. Kim's Song; The Seventh; Elson Habib, Playing Black, Ponders the End Game), and chilling (Mr. Oleander; The Guest Speaker; In the Cafe Rue de Turenne, Charleroi, Belgium, 1943). Doyle has t ...more
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful read from Mr. Doyle. Lots of great stories. A couple favorites were "The Guest Speaker" which made my cry and "On Flinging the Dog" which I hope we will do tomorrow and made me laugh.

Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
Brian Doyle has become my favorite living author. This collection does not dissapoint. Hilarious word play, half-page sentennces that prefer being read aloud, and, as usual, I'm pretty sure I come out a better person having read the stories. ...more
Robert Morgan Fisher
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My gawd what collection of short stories. Doyle is unique, a light--get it, you'll be glad you did. ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A delightful collection of short stories. There are connections to stories I've seen elsewhere, as well as one story that is connected to (or set in the same world as) his novel, Chicago. ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: two authors named Brian Doyle 3 13 Nov 19, 2016 03:42PM  

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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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