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The Adventures of John Carson in Several Quarters of the World: A Novel of Robert Louis Stevenson (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The subtitle of this delightful story is “a novel of Robert Louis Stevenson,” and as soon as you are three pages into the book it truly feels like RLS is speaking to sotto voce so neither of you will miss a word John Carson is saying. Brian Doyle begins with a bit of truth: RLS did live for a time in San Francisco at 608 Bush Street, home of the Carsons. He was waiting anxiously for his sweetheart Fanny to obtain a divorce and split his time between visiting her in Oakland and working on his writing. As this story goes, Robert and John often sat before the fire with a pipe in the evening and there, the old man would spin out tales of traveling the world, having death-defying adventures, and invariably, just before the worst of the story was about to happen, Mrs. Carson would call them into dinner leaving RLS on the edge of his seat. A quick read and one everyone will love, Brian Doyle was a master storyteller.

— From Anne Holman


"An affectionate homage...a loving reconstruction of an era of storytelling now lost." --The New York Times

" A] triumph...If a writer is going to put on Stevenson's voice, he'd better, as the poets say, 'bring it.' Reader, Doyle has brought it...Adventures is a tonic for our bitter times." --Washington Post

The young Robert Louis Stevenson, living in a boarding house in San Francisco in the 19th century while waiting for his beloved's divorce from her feckless husband, dreamed of writing a soaring novel about his landlady's adventurous and globe-trotting husband--but he never got around to it. And very soon thereafter he was married, headed home to Scotland, and on his way to becoming the most famous novelist in the world, after writing such classics as Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Kidnapped.

But now Brian Doyle brings Stevenson's untold tale to life, braiding the adventures of seaman John Carson with those of a young Stevenson, wandering the streets of San Francisco, gathering material for his fiction, and yearning for his beloved across the bay. An adventure tale, an elegy to one of the greatest writers of our language, a time-traveling plunge into The City by the Bay during its own energetic youth, The Adventures of John Carson in Several Quarters of the World is entertaining, poignant, and sensual.

About the Author

BRIAN DOYLE (1956-2017) was the longtime editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, and the author of numerous books of essays, fiction, poems, and nonfiction, among them the novels Mink River, The Plover, Martin Marten, and Chicago. Honors for his work include the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award in Literature. He lived in Portland, Oregon.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781250100528
ISBN-10: 1250100526
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: March 28th, 2017
Pages: 240
Language: English