Synopses & Reviews
A stunning successor to his best selling novel Peace Like a River
, Leif Enger's new work is a rugged and nimble story about an aging train robber on a quest to reconcile the claims of love and judgment on his life, and the failed writer who goes with him.
In 1915 Minnesota, novelist Monte Becket has lost his sense of purpose. His only success long behind him, Monte lives simply with his wife and son. But when he befriends outlaw Glendon Hale, a new world of opportunity and experience presents itself. Glendon has spent years in obscurity, but the guilt he harbors for abandoning his wife, Blue, over two decades ago, has lured him from hiding. As the modern age marches swiftly forward, Glendon aims to travel back to his past heading to California to seek Blue's forgiveness. Beguiled and inspired, Monte soon finds himself leaving behind his own family to embark for the unruly West with his fugitive guide. As they desperately flee from the relentless Charles Siringo, an ex-Pinkerton who's been hunting Glendon for years, Monte falls ever further from his family and the law, to be tempered by a fiery adventure from which he may never get home.
"An inviting voice guides readers through this expansive saga of redemption in the early 20th-century West and gives a teeming vitality to a period often represented with stock phrases and stock characters. Novelist Monte Becket isn't a terribly distinguished figure; his first and only published work hit five years before the story's start and he is about to reclaim his job at a smalltown Minnesota post office when he meets Glendon Hale, a former outlaw who is traveling to Mexico to find his estranged wife. He persuades Becket to join him, and the two set off on a long journey peopled with sharply carved characters (among them a Pinkerton thug tracking down Glendon) and splendid surprises. As Monte's narration continues, the tale veers away from Monte's artistic struggle and becomes an adventure story. The progress has its listless moments, but Enger crafts scenes so rich you can smell the spilled whiskey and feel the grit." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"So Brave, Young, and Handsome is an enthralling romp, appealing to fans of Peace Like a River to anyone, that is, who loves a good story." Charlotte Observer
"A belated follow-up to a popular debut finds the Midwestern novelist in fine storytelling form....Though Becket laments that he 'can't write a(nother) book that anyone will want to read,' Enger has." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"[A] sharp and brainy redemption tale, with all the twists and turns and thrills of a dime-store western....[Enger has] laid claim to a musical, sometimes magical and deeply satisfying kind of storytelling." Los Angeles Times
"So Brave, Young, and Handsome is affable and humane as all get out, homespun and sophisticated at once, wise and knowing about the ubiquity of the human condition and the vagaries of the human heart." The Chicago Tribune
"[A] superbly written, utterly compelling story of self-discovery and redemption disguised as a cracking good adventure tale....After reading the final page, don't be surprised if you find yourself shaking your head and murmuring, 'Wow. What a good book.' You undoubtedly won't be the only one." Minneapolis Star Tribune
"So Brave, Young, and Handsome lurches forward fitfully but ultimately uncorks enough surprises and vivid characters (like a handsome blond desperado and a female sharpshooter) for a bumpy but satisfying ride in. (Grade: B)" Entertainment Weekly
A stunning successor to his bestselling novel Peace Like a River, Enger's new work is a rugged and nimble story about an aging train robber on a quest to reconcile the claims of love and judgment on his life, and the failed writer who goes with him.
About the Author
Leif Enger was raised in Osakis, Minnesota and has worked as a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio since 1984. He lives on a farm in Minnesota with his wife and two sons.