- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; Reprint edition (August 20, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802139256
- ISBN-13: 978-0802139252
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,066 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Peace Like a River Paperback – August 20, 2002
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So, you can see I'm pretty picky! This book met all my criteria. The one character that feels too saintly to be real is the narrator's father, but he's seen through the eyes of an 11-year old boy, in the more innocent early 1960's, so that makes perfect sense. (And more so, in light of the ending.)
I appreciate how hard it must be to write an ending that the reader doesn't see coming, and that is neither too neat and happy, nor so shocking that it feels like a cheap shot. Again, this story delivers. I was truly surprised by several twists at the end, saddened by some of them and satisfied by others.
The author also accomplishes a rare feat: writing about faith in a way that makes room for doubt, without judging those characters for whom doubt wins out.
I look forward to reading more from Leif Enger.
Recommend this to middle school English teachers trying to instill a love of reading and teach imaginative writing of both prose and poetry.
In the process of seeking revenge, one of the bullies is killed by the oldest son. After that, the teenager sets out to flee his guilt, which he believes that his crime was committed in self-defence. But many in the small, N. Dakota town don't agree. So the boy flees and his family set out to find him, perhaps bringing him back to allow justice served.
Along the storyline, the family faithfully follows their highly religious and decent father, as he takes the children and himself, deep into the Dakota Badlands. There they meet saviors, antagonists, murderers, government men, and magical moments that allow them to continue their search, against many insurmountable odds.
The key characters are very individual and as quirky alone, as they are with one another. The reader comes to fall in love with one or a few of them. They learn to trust and love, as they become frantic to become reunited with their errant elder brother and son.
If there is a genre of N. Dakota magical realism, this is a novel of that ilk. Magic happens, Miracles happen. Good and bad happen. Evil and good happen. Sadness and happiness are lost and found. Redemption and sinning happen.
The language and character development are of a very skillful and high level that fully supports the plot, which is, at times, other-worldly. I couldn't put this book down. I loved it, since I've not read such a wonderful piece of fiction, in a very long time.