Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Leif Enger's New Book

Leif Enger, the author of the New York Times best seller, Peace Like A River, has written a second novel. So Brave, Young, and Handsome is a lively picaresque tale that begins in the Midwest and migrates across the West to a California orange grove.

In the opening scene, Monte Becket, a Minnesota writer, sits on his front porch slogging away at his seventh unfinished novel in five years. Then he spies "Glendon Hale rowing upstream through the ropy mists of the Cannon River." Naturally, Becket's life becomes instantly more interesting. And it soon becomes downright thrilling as he and Hale travel toward Mexico by train, car, horse, and foot power to find Blue, the wife Hale deserted more than thirty years ago.

True to the form, adventures, bad guys, heroes, and horses populate this book. The self-deprecating and stoic narrator, a writer in way over his head, delivers the tale with confidence.

Enger's prose is crisp and clean, sprinkled with just the right amount of delight:
"She could squeeze a conversation to its rind..."
" upstart wind whipped the grasses into confusion."
...his face was chaos"
"she gave the old cloud an insouciant sneer"
"the wallpaper slumped" has awarded So Brave, Young, and Handsome 4.5 stars, based on thirty-eight customer reviews.

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