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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of the year.
Eleven-year-old Reuben Hand began life by not breathing for twelve minutes. But by a miracle he survived 'in order to be a witness' to other miracles. He is the compelling narrator of this funny, tragic, and ultimately uplifting story. The members of Reuben's family are irresistible: his eight-year old sister Swede, who writes epic poems about cowboys; his older brother...
Published on 30 Jan 2003 by Caroline Lawrence

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Saccharine
I struggled to read this, but was put off by the sugary sentiment that dripped off every page. If you want to have your heart warmed until it spontaneously combusts, then this is the book for you. If not, then leave it well alone.
Published on 11 Jan 2012 by The Green Man


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of the year., 30 Jan 2003
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This review is from: Peace Like a River (Paperback)
Eleven-year-old Reuben Hand began life by not breathing for twelve minutes. But by a miracle he survived 'in order to be a witness' to other miracles. He is the compelling narrator of this funny, tragic, and ultimately uplifting story. The members of Reuben's family are irresistible: his eight-year old sister Swede, who writes epic poems about cowboys; his older brother Davy, a man at 16; and his father Jeremiah, a man of faith - real faith.
Peace Like a River has elements of To Kill A Mockingbird, Cold Mountain, and Cormac McCarthy's modern westerns, but it is a masterpiece in its own right. Every sentence is a joy, every thought is fresh, every character believable. Without being preachy or moralising it does what stories are meant to do: inspires you to live a better life.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A miraculous story of family, life and faith., 6 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This book tells through Rueben Land's eyes (and as sole eyewitness) the story of the events leading to the detention and subsequent exile of his elder brother Davy and his family's journey through North Dakota to find him. The story is reinforced and fabled through the poetry of Rueben's sister Swede and through reference to biblical events, western folklore, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson and more. It has the innocence of To Kill a Mocking Bird and the poverty but not pity of Angela's Ashes. Incredulous events become credible as this story grows on you with each page. Each member of the Land family both require and provide physical and spiritual healing. It is a triumph of faith, fate and hard work told in a style that leaves you with a feeling that the world is a better place. A remarkable debut novel and a must read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Heartachingly Beautiful'? Yes!, 27 Jan 2003
By 
Caroline Fox (Ilford, Essex.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Peace Like a River (Paperback)
Leif Enger's beautiful writing has a rhythm that is both comforting and delightful.
It took me a chapter or two to get 'hooked' and the references to the wild west were sometimes a struggle for me (never having seen a western in my life!), but I would still whole-heartedly recommend it. The 'feel' of this book is just lovely, with an engrossing storyline and a magical twist.
The ending, particularly the chapter before last, was deeply moving and perhaps the best ending to a book I've ever read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't finish in a public place unless wearing dark glasses!, 21 Sep 2005
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This review is from: Peace Like a River (Paperback)
Set in the 1960's, but with one of the central characters an 8/9 year old girl obsessed with 'Wild West Heroes' like Butch Cassidy, the 'real world' becomes mythic, huge and much more about the wild open spaces of the Western than about 60's America.
Throw into the mix the central narrator, an 11 year old boy with asthma, a 'romantic' (to his two siblings) teenage double murderer, and a father who possesses miraculous, healing powers, and you are set for an enchanting, and heartbreaking story.
Though the family itself is the centre piece, there is a wonderful supporting cast of larger than life characters, who again, feel like they have stepped from the pages of the tail end of the 19th century.
Enger is a superlative writer and story-teller.
The ending (which I will of course not give away) is an astonishing, superlative, incandescent piece of imaginative writing, where the style perfectly catches the grandeur of its subject matter.
I finished it on a bus, taken completely unaware, and could only weep with no shades to hide behind!
I look forward to more of Leif Enger's writing!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book That Packs A Wallop., 3 Feb 2003
By 
Peter Kenney (Birmingham, Alabama, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peace Like a River (Paperback)
It is hard to believe that PEACE LIKE A RIVER is a debut novel. Leif Enger is an excellent writer who spins a suspenseful yarn about a small family trying to cope heroically with a monstrous tragedy. He also gives us s fascinating tale about miracles and the afterlife.
The book is filled with penetrating insights - the knid of knowledge one acquires from being a keen observer of human nature and maybe even growing up on a farm. I don't remember ever reading another ending which packs more of a wallop than the last chapter in this magnificent gem.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A future Classic ---- A must read .... pass it on!, 27 Mar 2002
This review is from: Peace Like a River (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful novel. A true American tale in the John Irving, Harper Lee and Huck Finn stable. It is the authors debut novel ... and what a debut it is. The blurb pretty much gives the storyline and I suggest you go into it knowing as little as possible. The narrative is first class and I was dragged along needing to know how the story would unfold. Rube Land is the narrater ... but I was intrigued with the descriptive nature of the other characters - sister Swede and brother Davey.
This book could and should become a word of mouth bestseller ... and I for one can't recommend it enough. Enriching and a soon to be classic .... I sure hope so!! Brilliant
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazingly well written story, 18 July 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Peace Like a River (Hardcover)
This novel is beautiful, powerful and has the most well constructed characters of any novel I have ever read. The author has managed to create characters who almost live and breathe, and the narration is perfectly done, affectionate but not sentimental.
I can't recommend this book highly enough, it is wonderful, and you won't know how wonderful until you read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Saccharine, 11 Jan 2012
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Peace Like a River (Paperback)
I struggled to read this, but was put off by the sugary sentiment that dripped off every page. If you want to have your heart warmed until it spontaneously combusts, then this is the book for you. If not, then leave it well alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peace Like A River, 17 Jan 2009
This review is from: Peace Like a River (Paperback)
With his comfortable, charasmatic writing style Leif Enger had me hooked literally from the Very First Page. Then, savoring the unexpected pleasure, I paused - resisting the urge to turn over, and absorbed the feeling for a few moments.
Finding that I not just liked it but liked it immensely, I re-read the page out loud to myself ... then didn't stop reading again until I had consumed every last page, paragraph and syllable. I only wish there were more, in a series... many more! Chores stood neglected, errands unrun and worries forgotten as I stole time to spend with the characters in this book. It's a rare treasure.
I'll not lend it out in case it doesn't 'boomerang', so I'm back to buy it for a friend because it is definitely one to share. If you haven't read it yet ~ lucky you :) That pleasure awaits!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best read for quite a while, 29 Dec 2006
This review is from: Peace Like a River (Paperback)
Leif Enger - "Peace Like a River". This book blew me away. It is Leif Enger's first novel and it is utterly readable with an ending that completely ambushed me. The story is written from the PoV of an eleven year old boy (Ruben) and is set in the 1960's. His elder brother (Davey) kills two town bullies and goes on the run. Ruben's father, Ruben and his younger sister (Sweed) set out to look for Davey, traveling through Dakota in the middle of winter. Also searching is a Federal Marshal (Andreeson) and its a race to see who finds Davey first. A simple story at its heart, but one with so many layers and twists that it ranks as one of those rare books that, having read it, one comes away feeling totally satisfied.

Lief Enger certainly knows how to cook up a good story and if you've not read it yet, then I highly recommend it.
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Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (Paperback - 2 Sep 2002)
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