In a small town in northern Minnesota, Virgil Wander is living his life on autopilot until his car careens off a snowy cliff road and into Lake Superior. Afterward, he struggles with memory and vocabulary issues, while still trying to maintain his fledgling single-screen movie theater and job in City Hall. A likable cast of characters rounds out the story, including a kite-flying older Norwegian trying to find out more about his long-missing son, of whose existence he only recently learned. This is a feel-good read, and sometimes that’s exactly what is needed in these trying times. Recommended By Candice B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The first novel in ten years from award-winning, million-copy bestselling author Leif Enger, Virgil Wander is an enchanting and timeless all-American story that follows the inhabitants of a small Midwestern town in their quest to revive its flagging heart
Midwestern movie house owner Virgil Wander is "cruising along at medium altitude" when his car flies off the road into icy Lake Superior. Virgil survives but his language and memory are altered and he emerges into a world no longer familiar to him. Awakening in this new life, Virgil begins to piece together his personal history and the lore of his broken town, with the help of a cast of affable and curious locals--from Rune, a twinkling, pipe-smoking, kite-flying stranger investigating the mystery of his disappeared son; to Nadine, the reserved, enchanting wife of the vanished man, to Tom, a journalist and Virgil's oldest friend; and various members of the Pea family who must confront tragedies of their own. Into this community returns a shimmering prodigal son who may hold the key to reviving their town.
With intelligent humor and captivating whimsy, Leif Enger conjures a remarkable portrait of a region and its residents, who, for reasons of choice or circumstance, never made it out of their defunct industrial district. Carried aloft by quotidian pleasures including movies, fishing, necking in parked cars, playing baseball and falling in love, Virgil Wander is a swift, full journey into the heart and heartache of an often overlooked American Upper Midwest by a "formidably gifted" (Chicago Tribune) master storyteller.
"Surprises and delights throughout; definitely worth waiting for." Library Journal (starred review)
"The focus of [Enger's] bright and breathing third novel feels mostly like life itself, in all its smallness and bigness, and what it means to live a good one." Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Leif Enger was raised in Osakis, Minnesota, and worked as a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio before writing his bestselling debut novel Peace Like a River, which won the Independent Publisher Book Award and was one of the Los Angeles Times and Time Magazine's Best Books of the Year. His second novel, So Brave, Young, and Handsome, was also a national bestseller, and a Midwest Booksellers' Choice Award Honor Book for Fiction. He and his wife Robin live in Minnesota.