When Brian Doyle died of brain cancer at the age of sixty, he left behind dozens of books — fiction and nonfiction, as well as hundreds of essays — and a cult-like following who regarded his writing on spirituality as one of the best-kept secrets of the 21st century. Though Doyle occasionally wrote about Catholic spirituality, his writing is more broadly about the religion of everyday things. He writes with a delightful sense of wonder about the holiness of small things, and about love in all its forms: spiritual love, brotherly love, romantic love, friendly love, love of nature, and even the love of a nine-foot sturgeon.
At a time when our world feels darker than ever, Doyle’s essays are a balm for the tired soul. He finds beauty in the quotidian: the awe of a child the first time she hears a river, the whiskers a grieving widow misses seeing in her sink every day — but through his eyes, nothing is ordinary.
David James Duncan sums up Doyle’s sensibilities best in his introduction to the collection: “Brian Doyle lived the pleasure of bearing daily witness to the glories hidden in people, places and creatures of little or no size or renown, and brought inimitably playful or soaring or aching or heartfelt language to his tellings.” In a time when wonder seems to be in short supply, Your One Wild and Precious Life, Doyle and Duncan invite readers to experience it in the most ordinary of moments, and allow themselves joy in the smallest of things.