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Peace Like a River CD

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  60,946 Ratings  ·  6,080 Reviews
Born with no air in his lungs, it was only when Reuben Land's father, Jeremiah, picked him up and commanded him to breathe that Reuben's lungs filled. Reuben struggles with debilitating asthma from then on, making him a boy who knows firsthand that life is a gift, and also one who suspects that his father is touched by God and can overturn the laws of nature.

The quiet 1960
Audio CD, 10 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by HarperAudio (first published 2001)
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Apr 30, 2008 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
2016 REVIEW:
I just re-read this one for book club. After almost eight years, it was good to revisit it and rediscover what I loved about it. I remembered loving the characters (especially Reuben and Swede) and the setting (the desolation of the Dakota Badlands). I remembered loving the writing: absolutely some of the best writing I've encountered in all the books I've read.

I remembered almost nothing of the plot besides fugitive Davy and the family in the Airstream trailer, so it was an especia
Aug 14, 2015 Snotchocheez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Curiously enough: Bible-thumpers, card-carrying NRA members, and the rest of us bookworms
How do I write this to persuade the uninitiated how great Peace Like a River is without seeming like a freak?

A cursory glance at the synopsis should've had me running for the hills. At its core, its about good old-fashioned family values, faith (read: religion), and "miracles" (read: divine intervention). It also features Zane Grey/Louis L'amour-influenced epic poetry (as penned by a precocious 8 year-old), narration by an asthmatic 11 year-old, desperadoes and fugitives from the law like Butc
Mar 13, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm rereading this again for a book club I'm hosting. It is one of my all-time favorite books because it has GREAT writing, a wonderful message, a twisting plot and has laugh out loud parts. When people ask me for a book to read, this is the first one I recommend.
I laughed; I cried. Real tears that streamed down my face and came from my heart. I loved each of these characters, invested in them, rooted for them, felt their pain (both physical and emotional), and feared for their bodies and their souls. Leif Enger is a superb writer.

I love books that are told from the point of view of adolescents when the writer is able to tell the tale without being overly dismissive or have the character be overly clever. Reuben Land is as balanced and clueless as Scout
Aug 02, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a great book! Don't miss this one!
Robert Beveridge
Leif Enger, Peace Like a River (Grove, 2001)

Oh, what has happened to Grove Press? The folks that made their name publishing scandalous novels by James Joyce, Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs, and the like publishing what may be the least controversial novel of the last ten years? It hurts my heart, folks, it really does. Please, Grove, stick to what you know.

It wouldn't be so bad if there were more about this piece of smarmy claptrap to like. I haven't decided whether this is a good thing or a
Becky Rhoads
Apr 23, 2008 Becky Rhoads rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Melinda Deffenbaugh, Holly Deffenbaugh
Just finished this book. Highly recommend it! It is a very creative story, full of wonderful prose, and characters you come to love, admire and hate. Very interesting spiritual theme running throughout the book. It is clear the author has some understanding of the miraculous! This is certainly not a story that has what we would call a happy ending, but surprises you and on some level it makes sense. And the ending is not even the most important thing - it is walking the journey with these charac ...more
Sep 01, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Among the many glowing reviews for Peace Like a River, there is this:

"Peace Like a River serves as a reminder of why we read fiction to begin with: to commune with a vividly, lovingly rendered world, to lose ourselves in story and language and beauty, to savor what we don't want to end yet know must."

I would add that I read to meet and know fascinating characters. At any rate, the reviewer got it right — Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, has all this and more.

Character: Reuben Land, an 11-year-
Feb 16, 2013 ☮Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful coming of age story of two children, with beautiful prose and a few miracles and life lessons thrown in for good measure.
The characters are what made this such an enjoyable read for me. Swede, so wise beyond her eight years, loves anything pertaining to the American West and writes amazing poetry about cowboys. Her eleven year old asthmatic brother, Reuben, the narrator of the tale, and their father head West in their Airstream to find the oldest son Davey, who has escaped from jail
Oct 29, 2007 Leah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love it, and I did love it--until about halfway through. The book's characters are drawn well; they are unique and full of individuality. The plot is well paced up through the suspense of the oldest brother's trial for double murder. From then on, the book dissolves into a strange mix of cowboy western and religious fable. The plot loses steam, and I lost interest. The ending was tragically disappointing, the characters lose their depth, and their choices seem forced.
Maggie Stiefvater
Nov 16, 2009 Maggie Stiefvater rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
It's been weeks since I read this book, and yet I keep forgetting to write a review for it. Why? Well, for starters, I usually have the book around and its presence reminds me to review it. Not so with this novel, which I have bought three times while traveling for my own novel, and given away twice before I could get it home with me. It's just that kind of book, where you want to go "oh man, take this."

To call it a Western is to scare off everyone who finds Clint Eastwood a little bit of a turn
Charlotte May
This is a wonderful tale of the strength of family during hardships and struggle. The oldest child of Jeremiah Land - Davey gets into a fight with the local thugs when they break into his home and threaten the safety of his younger siblings. One of the two is killed and suddenly Davey is up for manslaughter. He hits the road, leaving his family with no clue where he's gone and how bad things will get if he is discovered.
If you can't stomach religion then maybe put this one aside as it has a heav
May 14, 2010 Petra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely perfect from first page to last. It's been ages since I've thought that about a book.
I loved all the characters, as well as the story, which centers around the perspective of witnessing, loyalty, family ties, faith, character and miracles.
This book spans a short time period (maybe a half- or three quarters-year) but it's so packed with story and life that it seems to span years.
The writing is beautiful, with humour throughout.
I highly recommend this book. Loved it.
Cindy Rollins
Feb 10, 2017 Cindy Rollins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread, 2017, 2017-audio
Just as beautiful as before. I enjoyed Chad Lowe's narration this time around.

Deeply moving, organically told tale with lovely character development. Highly recommended.
Jonathan Briggs
Remember the good old days? When bad and good were clearly defined black and white. When no one cursed or drank strong liquor. When children never sassed their parents. When no one had sex (or genitals). Well, me neither. But if there's anybody who does long for such a mythical time, have I got the "Boy's Life" adventure for you! In Leif Enger's "Peace Like A River," young Reuben Land lives in the Midwest with his father, who is touched by God to the point where he glows in the dark; his sister ...more
Ron Charles
"Peace Like a River" opens with the narrator's stillbirth. "My lungs refused to kick in," Reuben writes in a moment that's at once terrifying and reassuring. While the doctor mumbles platitudes and his mother wails, Reuben's father senses that something's wrong. He sprints across the parking lot, back into the hospital, up into the room, and punches the doctor to get to his limp son. "Reuben Land," he commands, "in the name of the living God I am telling you to breathe."

How wonderful that the wo
Jun 04, 2007 Siria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whoever typeset this book should be fired, and then possibly summarily shot. I cannot recall the last time I saw so many errors in a book--apostrophes and quotation marks inverted, no spaces left after some of the full stops, and, on one occasion, the e.e. cummings-esque 'multi- p lied' appeared in the middle of the page for no discernible reason.

Such gripes aside, this book is really an excellent read. It is a novel of faith, the kind of novel which I normally find hard to connect with, since m
I don't know what to rate this!
This book made me cranky.
It is beautifully written, almost poetic. It reminds me of the style of "How Green Was My Valley." There's a strong, wise father figure. A boy coming of age. An older brother who makes a dubious choice. A shocking death. Many inspiring quotables. It's a book about the power of faith--I think.
It's really made me wonder about why I closed it feeling unsettled and unhappy.
I think it's because it was almost too real. The characters in it are s
Jun 26, 2008 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There were things I really liked about this story but more things that I didn't...Overall I would say that the general story was good, but the details of plot and character interaction were random and disjointed. I loved the father's faith, the world would be a far better place if we all had faith like that to see beyond the coincidences of life and know that God is in the details. Here is a quote from the beginning of the book which gave me food for thought.

"Let me say something about that word
Jan 19, 2008 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This might be my favorite book.

I love the writing style. Randy and I read it aloud and that was perfect because there are so many quotable moments.

Here's a review I found that describes it better than I can:

"A rich mixture of adventure, tragedy, and healing, " Peace Like a River is "a collage of legends from sources sacred and profane -- from the Old Testament to the Old West, from the Gospels to police dramas" (Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor). In "lyrical, openhearted prose" (Mich
Douglas Wilson
Nov 26, 2013 Douglas Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
One of the most satisfying novels I have read.
Jan 13, 2010 Brandy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-about-life
This is such a difficult book to rate. I have so many differing opinions about this book that I would say it ranges from a 3 to a 4, although I don't necessarily think it is a book that I feel made a huge impact on my life, which is what I usually save 4 and 5 star ratings for. Nevertheless, I felt the writing in this book was good enough that I put it at a 4 instead of a 3. I just changed my mind and am putting it at a 3 because 4 star books I will probably read again, but I don't think I will ...more
Apr 28, 2008 Holli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
Great book! Great story! Great characters! I especially liked Swede and her vocabulary, not to mention her epic cowboy poems. I didn’t care that she can write better than I can. And of course, Rube, who is so human, struggling with what is the right thing to do. The feeling of a brother gone bad, wanting to protect him, bring him back into the fold—I know that feeling. And the breathing—even though mine doesn’t get that bad, I could still identify. The book was full of great imagery. I especial ...more
Julie Christine
Once in a distant while there comes a novel that brings me to tears as I turn its final pages. It is the combination of a compelling story, vital characters, and sublime writing that fill me with awe at the writer's ability and sorrow in bidding farewell to such a treasure. Wallace Stegner's Crossing to Safety, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird are a few that have made a powerful impact.

Leif Enger's Peace Like A River touched me in a similar way. Less so for
barbara b
Jun 11, 2007 barbara b rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not really
Shelves: bookgroupbooks
A book for a reading group does give one the opportunity to read things one wouldn't necessarily choose for oneself. Such is the present case. Many have found this book wonderful, the writing splendid, and the topics introduced important and compelling. I do not share this view. I found the book slow going, sentimental at times and wishy-washy at others. Some characters were believable, but didn't get my sympathy. Other characters were just not real (the genius little sister for one). The big qu ...more
Feb 03, 2008 Lauryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down, one of my favorite pieces of fiction. "Peace Like a River", the debut novel by Leif Enger, is a work of exceptional emotional power, written in prose as clean and concise as it is rich and deeply satisfying. Told through the eyes of 11 year-old Reuban Land, Enger infuses this modern day Western outlaw tale with the power of family bonds, of faith, and of miracles. Not since Harper Lee's Atticus Finch and Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird have there been characters as thoroughly good as ...more
I first read this several years ago, and I took it to my heart and cherished it.

Now my new book club wanted to read it, and so I bought a copy and reread it. And once again, I took it to my heart and cherished it.

In deceptively simple language, young Ruben talks about his father, a soft-voiced school janitor, and also a man who prays aloud to God and receives answers. A man who can heal with the touch of a hand, who works miracles with such deep humility that hardly anyone but sharp-eyed Ruben
Jun 22, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 16, 2010 Annette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Annette by: Dawn
Shelves: adult
OK! I'm finally getting around to writing a review for this book! I actually finished reading it a week ago, but wasn't able to get around to reviewing it until now because a) I got super busy and b) this is a really hard book to review.

So this is what I liked about it: 1) The beautiful prose made it very enjoyable to read. It was like listening to a grandpa or favorite uncle telling stories of when he was a boy. 2) Swede's poetry, of course it's impossible for an eight year old to write poetry
Jul 03, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Speechless. I was utterly speechless as I reluctantly turned the last page of Enger's unforgettable novel. Hands down one of the greatest modern works of literature ever written. I highly recommend "Peace Like a River" to anyone who relishes beautiful prose, brilliant literary allusion, metaphor, and symbolism . . . and of course, unforgettable, colorful characters.

Not since Harper Lee's precocious Scout in "To Kill a Mockingbird" has a character captured my heart like Enger's Swede. He has craf
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WRG Book Club: Discussion Question #1 1 10 Feb 28, 2017 05:57AM  
Mentor Texts: Mentor Texts 1 3 Dec 11, 2016 07:44PM  
Gering Food For T...: Bob and Andy Pie 1 12 Jan 19, 2016 08:42AM  
Dave not visitng Scout 2 38 Jan 05, 2015 03:20PM  
can you answer this questions? 2 106 Sep 06, 2012 01:40PM  
Another strange occurrence involves Swedes saddle. Explain! 3 70 Aug 30, 2012 02:15PM  
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Leif Enger was raised in Osakis, Minnesota, and worked as a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio for nearly twenty years. He lives on a farm in Minnesota with his wife and two sons.

His writing is a smooth mix of romanticism and gritty reality, recalling the Old West's greatest cowboy stories.

Enger's novel, Peace Like a River, was one of Time magazine's top-five novels of the year 2001
More about Leif Enger...

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“Sometimes heroism is nothing more than patience, curiosity, and a refusal to panic.” 105 likes
“Fair is whatever God wants to do.” 76 likes
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