Holli's Reviews > Peace Like a River

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Apr 28, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: literary-fiction
Read in August, 2005

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 especially liked the line about searching his brain like opening every drawer of a bureau. I didn’t see the end coming, but it was inevitable. I can’t wait for Enger to write another novel.

Amazon.com's Best of 2001
To the list of great American child narrators that includes Huck Finn and Scout Finch, let us now add Reuben "Rube" Land, the asthmatic 11-year-old boy at the center of Leif Enger's remarkable first novel, Peace Like a River. Rube recalls the events of his childhood, in small-town Minnesota circa 1962, in a voice that perfectly captures the poetic, verbal stoicism of the northern Great Plains. "Here's what I saw," Rube warns his readers. "Here's how it went. Make of it what you will." And Rube sees plenty.
In the winter of his 11th year, two schoolyard bullies break into the Lands' house, and Rube's big brother Davy guns them down with a Winchester. Shortly after his arrest, Davy breaks out of jail and goes on the lam. Swede is Rube's younger sister, a precocious writer who crafts rhymed epics of romantic Western outlawry. Shortly after Davy's escape, Rube, Swede, and their father, a widowed school custodian, hit the road too, swerving this way and that across Minnesota and North Dakota, determined to find their lost outlaw Davy. In the end it's not Rube who haunts the reader's imagination, it's his father, torn between love for his outlaw son and the duty to do the right, honest thing. Enger finds something quietly heroic in the bred-in-the-bone Minnesota decency of America's heartland. Peace Like a River opens up a new chapter in Midwestern literature.
9 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Peace Like a River.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

07/08 marked as: read

No comments have been added yet.