When Israel Finch and Tommy Basca, the town bullies, break into the home of school caretaker Jeremiah Land, wielding a baseball bat and looking for trouble, they find more of it than even they expected. For seventeen-year-old Davey is sitting up in bed waiting for them with a Winchester rifle. His younger brother Reuben has seen their father ...
When Israel Finch and Tommy Basca, the town bullies, break into the home of school caretaker Jeremiah Land, wielding a baseball bat and looking for trouble, they find more of it than even they expected. For seventeen-year-old Davey is sitting up in bed waiting for them with a Winchester rifle. His younger brother Reuben has seen their father perform miracles, but Jeremiah now seems as powerless to prevent Davey from being arrested for manslaughter, as he has always been to ease Reuben's daily spungy struggle to breathe. Nor does brave and brilliant nine-year-old Swede, obsessed as she is with the legends of the wild west, have the strength to spring Davey from jail. Yet Davey does manage to break out. He steals a horse, and disappears. His family feels his absence so sorely, the three of them just pile into their old Plymouth, towing a brand new 1963 Airstream trailer, and set out on a quest to find him. And they follow the outlaw west, right into the cold, wild and empty Dakota Badlands. Set in the 1960s on the edge of the Great Plains, PEACE LIKE A RIVER is that rare thing, a contemporary novel with an epic dimension. Told in the touching voice of an asthmatic eleven-year-old boy, it revels in the legends of the West, resonates with a soul-expanding sense of place, and vibrates with the possibility of magic in the everyday world. Above all, it shows how family, love, and faith can stand up to the most terrifying of enemies, the most tragic of fates.
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This author hit a home run with his story AND writing on this. I've read it before, lost my copy, and ordered two more so I could have and donate one to my small-town library. Yes, it's that good!
Jun 6, 2013
Feel the rhythm
I am re-reading Peace Like a River just to enjoy the rhythm of Leif Enger's writing.
To borrow a line from the book, it lopes along "champing and snorting and kicking up clover".
Jan 23, 2010
This is great story and very original. I love reading books where you cannot predict or see the end coming. This is a story about Jeremiah Land, a devout man of faith and principle, and his three children. First is Davy, the oldest and very self confident. Second is Reuben, severely asthmatic, and also the narrator of the story, and third is the nine year old sister, Swede, who is apparently something of a genius and budding writer/poet. When Davy is being charged with murder for killing a pair of intruders, he manages to escape from jail. The family starts out on a quest to find him, and various federal and state investigators are on their trail hoping to be led to the fugitive. Miracles seem to be common occurances for the praying Jeremiah, and when the angels aren't fighting for the Lands, Reuben and Swede try to take up the slack, for better or worse, and sometimes hilariously. As other reviewers have said, this story manages to be told without either bad language or sex. It is a wonderful story and completely refreshing.Dont miss this one!!
Jan 21, 2010
I ordered this book for my husband for Christmas. He loved it!! He said it was one of the best books he has ever read.
Sep 10, 2009
I loved this book. Parts of it are hysterical, others poignant. Enger's description of the people and the environment are vivid.
I bought this book shortly after it was published, read it, and gave it to a friend to read (and return). It got passed on to another friend and I never got it back. So, I had to buy another copy because I want to read it again.
There aren't very many books out there that can tell an intriguing story without using swear words. It's a beautiful book that uses clean language only. I respect Engel for this.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-07-16 Dead for 10 minutes before his father orders him to breathe in the name of the living God, Reuben Land is living proof that the world is full of miracles. But it's the impassioned honesty of his quiet, measured narrative voice that gives weight and truth to the fantastic elements of this engrossing tale. From the vantage point of adulthood, Reuben tells how his father rescued his brother Davy's girlfriend from two attackers, how that led to Davy being jailed for murder and how, once Davy escapes and heads south for the Badlands of North Dakota, 12-year-old Reuben, his younger sister Swede and their janitor father light out after him. But the FBI is following Davy as well, and Reuben has a part to play in the finale of that chase, just as he had a part to play in his brother's trial. It's the kind of story that used to be material for ballads, and Enger twines in numerous references to the Old West, chiefly through the rhymed poetry Swede writes about a hero called Sunny Sundown. That the story is set in the early '60s in Minnesota gives it an archetypal feel, evoking a time when the possibility of getting lost in the country still existed. Enger has created a world of signs, where dead crows fall in a snowstorm and vagrants lie curled up in fields, in which everything is significant, everything has weight and comprehension is always fleeting. This is a stunning debut novel, one that sneaks up on you like a whisper and warms you like a quilt in a North Dakota winter, a novel about faith, miracles and family that is, ultimately, miraculous. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2001-12-03 The cover, though beautiful, seems better suited for a reissue of Robin Hood or Camelot. And the reader's claim to fame is his role as an HIV-positive artist on the TV series Life Goes On. So what makes this an great audiobook? Two things: careful, thoughtful writing by Enger and passionate, spirited reading by Lowe. This is a graceful, stirring first novel, with echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird and classic Americana at its heart. Eleven-year-old Reuben Land lives a typically calm existence in a small Midwestern town; beyond having an extraordinary father (who performs quiet miracles), he's a pretty average boy. When two neighborhood bullies threaten his older brother, Davy, and his younger sister, Swede, life takes on a dark edge. The conflict escalates after Davy shoots the two boys dead, is in jail awaiting trial and escapes. Reuben, Swede and their widowed father take off in search of Davy, moving across the striking landscape of Minnesota and South Dakota. Their search ultimately leads them to make a very important decision, one that challenges their own morals and familial bonds. Enger's characters are exceptionally strong, and Lowe deftly portrays them: Swede's chutzpah, Reuben's reverence for his family, and their father's magic are all admirably expressed. Simultaneous release with the Atlantic Monthly hardcover (Forecasts, July 16). (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-07-16 Forecast: This is the kind of story booksellers fall in love with, and handselling should supplement the strong publicity effort, including an 18-city author tour. Allotted a 100,000-copy first printing, Peace Like a River is a Book of the Month Club main selection and foreign rights have sold in seven countries; blurbs from Jim Harrison, Rick Bass and Frank McCourt further attest to its draw. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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