Wet Engine (Paperback)

Exploring the Mad Wild Miracle of the Heart

By Brian Doyle

Oregon State University Press, 9780870716539, 128pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2012

List Price: 17.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In this poignant and startlingly original book, Brian Doyle examines the heart as a physical organ—how it is supposed to work, how surgeons try to fix it when it doesn’t—and as a metaphor: the seat of the soul, the power house of the body, the essence of spirituality. In a series of profoundly moving ruminations, Doyle considers the scientific, emotional, literary, philosophical, and spiritual understandings of the heart—from cardiology to courage, from love letters and pop songs to Jesus. Weaving these strands together is the torment of Doyle’s own infant son’s heart surgery and the inspiring story of the young heart doctor who saved Liam’s life.

The Wet Engine is a book that will change how you feel and think about the mysterious, fragile human heart. This new paperback edition includes a foreword by Dr. Marla Salmon, dean of the University of Washington School of Nursing.


About the Author

Brian Doyle is the author of twelve books, including the novel "Mink River "and "The Grail," his account of a year in a vineyard in Oregon. He edits "Portland Magazine "at the University of Portland.


Praise For Wet Engine: Exploring the Mad Wild Miracle of the Heart

"This wonderful book has two heroes: a small boy with a damaged heart, and a surgeon who knows how to repair the damaged hearts of small boys. Such heroes deserve a gifted poet to sing their songs. Brian Doyle is that poet." —Chet Raymo, author of Honey from Stone: A Naturalist's Search for God

"Brian Doyle's spirit is catching: it will catch you up, and soon you will have caught on to everything he feels and ruminates over and marvels at, and you will comprehend what poetry is and does. And you will know from the throb of The Wet Engine, this unique and beautiful book written in celestial prose, that Brian Doyle is as glorious a poet as he is a father; and vice versa." —Cynthia Ozick, author of The Shawl