Sunday, February 3, 2008

Peace Like a River

I just finished reading Peace Like a River.

Justin picked it up for me on his way home from Chicago last February. He knew of my love for the song "Peace Like a River," and picked up the book to see that it was written by a Minnesotan (Leif Enger), about Minnesotans, and the narrator's name was Reuben.

Its taken me a long while to read it, to no fault of its own. Usually when I run out of time to read a book I decide it isn't worth the sacrifice to finish it. Not with Reuben Land's tale. Its a story of faith, miracles, redemption, and peace despite the hand that is dealt. It is not without faults, but it is lovely.

The last words of the novel are:
"Is there a single person on whom I can press belief?
No sir.
All I can do is say, Here's how it went. Here's what I saw.
I've been there and am going back.
Make of it what you will."

Enger shines as a writer. The sister, Swede, has the story telling talent and memory of a writer that Reuben praises throughout. But, Enger has the ability to make us believe that she actually is a great writer. She works on a ballad throughout, and unlike most other novels with long poems interrupting the plot these add dimension and are enjoyable.

The story, although extreme, is presented by such a humble narrator that it is easy to forgive the stretch for conflict. The novel is not about what happened, and where they went, but about who they were and what they believed. I loved the presentation of faith and miracles, and how it just belongs in our life, and how it is what brings peace.

Leif Enger has another book on the way that I will be reading as soon as it is out. I think the things I didn't love about this first novel of his were due to the fact that it was a first novel.


Tammy said...


Those closing words are really moving and beautiful. I'll definately try to get a hold of the book. Tell Justin I think those closing words tie in really well with the screenwriting conversation he and I were having a few days ago.

Thanks for the review - I'm glad you enjoyed reading it!

xo Tammy

Mick said...

Enger lives near Aitkin.

Justin said...

Tammy--I had those very same thoughts! :)

Aunt Gayle said...

Brecken--I LOVED that book! It's a great read. I'm glad to hear that he's got another one coming out.