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So Brave, Young and Handsome

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  6,077 Ratings  ·  1,256 Reviews
One of Time magazine’s top-five novels of the year and a New York Times bestseller, Leif Enger’s first novel, Peace Like a River, captured readers’ hearts around the nation. His new novel is a stunning successor–a touching, nimble, and rugged story of an aging train robber on a quest to reconcile the claims of love and judgment on his life, and the failed writer who goes w ...more
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Published April 22nd 2008 by Random House Audio (first published December 31st 2007)
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William
Peace Like a River, Enger's first novel, had simple, elegant writing and a believable, suspenseful plot that set the author loping comfortably between the literary buttes of Larry McMurtry and John Steinbeck. River felt like a classic before you were halfway through the book. So Brave, Young, and Handsome is set at the same pace, and holds to the same style of writing, and if that process seems now too easily reproduced, or too wash worn to stun us at second sight, the casualness of this appeara ...more
Snotchocheez
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars

I can't be a Leif Enger completist after two novels. No! Arrrgh! Alas, this terrific writer only has two novels under his belt in his (fifteen year) career, but I can assure you, when he gets the gumption to write again, I will be there waiting.

Yeah, and no, 2008's So Brave, Young, and Handsome is not as good as his debut, 2001's Peace Like a River, but it's pretty darn good enough, despite a few minor tics (like that seemingly-Wiley Cash-inspired title for starters). It's probably not
...more
Richard Derus
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Book Report: Failing novelist and failure of a farmer Monte Becket, Minnesotan manque, meets Glendon the gangster via the good offices of his son the pathologically friendly, and to the undisguised disgust and reluctant encouragement of his dreary, negative wife, takes off to Mexico with Glendon to see what he can see.

My Review: I started this book annoyed. I did NOT like the pseudoformal English that the author posits regular people used a century ago, felt it was such a
...more
Patrick Oden
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like good books
Shelves: history, fiction
"I said, 'Most men never have the chance to be both things at once, the hero and the devil.'

'That is ignorant. Most men are hero and devil. All men. That is what ruins it with wives.'

'She wanted just the hero?'

'Bad men or good she would've had me either way. She couldn't endure both, however. She said to pick one and to be that thing only so that she might trust me until the day of Jesus.'"

There is a perspective in some ancient cultures about in-between places and times. Dawn and dusk, which lie
...more
Jolie
May 12, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Oh, I wanted so much to like this book...I loved Peace Like a River, and would recommend that one wholeheartedly. And I was prepared to love this one, too, but just...couldn't.

I did love Monte Beckett at the beginning--his angst over writing 1,000 words a day in order to turn out a follow-up to his unexpected bestseller. I loved that one of his throw-away stories sounded much like the plot line for Peace. I found all his characters at the beginning of the book to be intriguing and likeable.

And t
...more
Amelia
Apr 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's here! Finally, after almost 6 years, the second book by Leif Enger! He wrote Peace Like a River - my all-time #1 favorite!

I liked it in the end. It's no Peace, but it was a good story. I couldn't feel the characters as deeply as in Peace ... I wish we had more time with Redstart and Hood, less with Siringo. But, the overall themes were ones I could get behind: true love endures, forgiveness is sweet on both the giving and receiving end, there is a fine nobleness in voluntary justice, and r
...more
Jessica
The term "Heartbreaking work of staggering genius" gets bandied about a lot these days, but in this case it's very well earned. As I knew it would be. The man who wrote the sublime PEACE LIKE A RIVER could not possibly write a bad grocery list, let alone a bad book.

Though I do wonder if there is anything autobiographical here. The narrator, Monte Becket, is a writer. A former postal worker, actually, who wrote a novel on a whim and had it become a runaway bestseller. And now he sits, day after
...more
Sandi
Aug 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sandi by: Bookczuk
So Brave, Young and Handsome: A Novel is a very interesting read. It's got so many layers and nuances. Set in 1912,the narrator is a Minnesota postal worker who wrote a fabulously successful novel, quit his day job, and hasn't been able to write anything since. He befriends with an old guy who builds boats, and leaves his wife and son to spend six weeks helping his new friend find his long-lost love. It quickly becomes apparent that Monte is either a very poor judge of character or that he is th ...more
Larry H
I absolutely loved Leif Enger's first novel, Peace Like a River. He's a terrific writer. So needless to say, I was really looking forward to reading his follow-up novel. And I loved much of it a great deal.



Living in Minnesota in 1915, Monte Becket was a one-time successful novelist hoping inspiration will strike him a second time. Eking out a humdrum existence, one day he befriends Glendon Hale, a vagabond outlaw who wants to head to Mexico to find his one true love, whom he abandoned to flee la
...more
Amy
Jul 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: hazrabai
Crud, crud, crud. I meant to write my review of this when I finished it, but now it's been several weeks and a bunch of books in between. Still the story has stayed with me. While I can no longer recall a specific eloquence of phrase, the overall flavor of the story, with the wonders of the early 20th century: train travel, Wild West shows, outlaws, Pinkertons, sharpshooters and cheap penny novels. The basic story is one of an aging train robber, Glendon Hale, seeking redemption from the love of ...more
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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
More about Leif Enger...
“Love is a strange fact - it hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. It makes no sense at all.” 29 likes
“Why is it our failures only show us more clearly the people we are failing?” 13 likes
More quotes…