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So Brave, Young and Handsome


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About the Author

Leif Enger was born in Minnesota and worked as a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio until Peace Like a River was published in 2001 and he became a full-time writer. He is married and lives in Minnesota with his wife and two sons.


An inviting voice guides readers through this expansive saga of redemption in the early 20th-century West and gives a teeming vitality to a period often represented with stock phrases and stock characters. Novelist Monte Becket isn't a terribly distinguished figure; his first and only published work hit five years before the story's start and he is about to reclaim his job at a smalltown Minnesota post office when he meets Glendon Hale, a former outlaw who is traveling to Mexico to find his estranged wife. He persuades Becket to join him, and the two set off on a long journey peopled with sharply carved characters (among them a Pinkerton thug tracking down Glendon) and splendid surprises. As Monte's narration continues, the tale veers away from Monte's artistic struggle and becomes an adventure story. The progress has its listless moments, but Enger crafts scenes so rich you can smell the spilled whiskey and feel the grit. (May) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Wondrous and wise - Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes. Heart-achingly beautiful - Nicholas Evans, author of The Horse Whisperer.

Enger's (Peace Like a River) sophomore effort is at once engaging and curiously flat, somewhat like its Midwestern setting. In 1915 Minnesota, Monte Beckett, a writer trying to follow up a runaway best seller (like Enger himself), leaves his incomplete novels, his wife, and his son to go on a quest. Glendon Hale, a boat builder with a checkered past, takes Monte with him on his journey to apologize to the wife he abandoned 20 years previously. Their trip takes many unexpected detours while they try to avoid the ex-detective who has pursued Glendon for several decades. What awaits them at the end of their journey surprises both men. This is a particularly American tale, with many elements from both penny Westerns and Mark Twain; the plot is improbable, but the writing is absorbing. Libraries where Enger's first novel was popular will want this book as well. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/08.]--Amy Ford, St. Mary's Cty. Lib., Lexington Park, MD Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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