March 16, 2008

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

I picked up Peace Like a River based on multiple recommendations I got from other bloggers commenting on Rocks in my Dryer. Did I like the book? Yeah. Am I glad I read this book? Yeah. Did I love the book? No. Maybe it's because the last two books I've read were full of amazing character development, plot twists, and hit very close to home that this book just didn't stand out to me. I felt no sense of urgency to find a conclusion because I didn't really feel a sense of real conflict in the novel. I could easily pick it up and put back down just a few pages later. But again this is merely my opinion. This might be a page-turner for someone else that reads it.

Peace Like a River is about a boy, Reuben, brought into this world by a miracle performed by his dad. He is born with horrible asthma and always trying his hardest to breathe. It's set in the 1960's in the back country of states like North Dakota and Montana. Reuben's brother Davy commits a crime and becomes a fugitive to the law. The book follows the families journey to find Davy and, well I'm really not exactly sure what they were planning to do once they found him. During their travel, they witness various miracles, which becomes an ongoing theme throughout the book.

Being a read-along witness to these miracles was probably one of my favorite parts of the book. As Rube's dad heals his horrible boss, drives on a tank of gas for way too long, and feeds five people forever on a kettle of soup, it made me realize how often these kind of miracles happen and are overlooked. Miracles didn't just happen in Moses' time, they happen today, and this book served as a reminder to that.

The other thing that kept me interested in this book when the plot didn't was the incredible language Enger uses. His writing really is just beautiful and as the cover quote says, "Peace Like a River serves as a reminder of why we read fiction to begin with." This passage was probably my favorite but just an example of his amazing prose- "Truly I suppose that moment had been gaining on us, secretly, like a new piece of music played while you sleep. On day you hear it- a strange song, yet one you know by heart." Put so eloquently but in terms that everyone can understand. So if you're looking for a book to read, this is a pretty good choice, especially if you appreciate good writing.


  1. I have seen this book at the used book store, and to be honest the storyline never caught my attention. What were the other two books you've read by him?

  2. Thanks for posting...I have a review I need to post soon, but I have to write it first. Haha.

    I'm not sure that this is a book that I'd be interested in. Thinks for letting me know about it, though!


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