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Peace Like a River Paperback – 2 Sep 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New edition edition (2 Sept. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552999350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552999359
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 3 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 253,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

To the list of great American child narrators that includes Huck Finn and Scout Finch, let us now add Reuben "Rube" Land, the asthmatic 11-year-old boy at the centre of Leif Enger's remarkable first novel, Peace Like a River. Rube recalls the events of his childhood, small-town Minnesota circa 1962, in a voice that perfectly captures the poetic verbal stoicism of the Northern Great Plains. "Here's what I saw," Rube warns his readers. "Here's how it went. Make of it what you will." And Rube sees plenty.

In the winter of his 11th year, two schoolyard bullies break into the Land house, and Rube's big brother Davy guns them down with a Winchester. Shortly after his arrest Davy breaks out of jail and goes on the lam. Swede is Rube's younger sister, a precocious writer who crafts rhymed epics of romantic Western outlawry. Shortly after Davy's escape, Rube, Swede and their father, a widowed school custodian, hit the road too, swerving this way and that across Minnesota and North Dakota, determined to find their lost outlaw Davy. In the end it's not Rube who haunts the reader's imagination, it's his father, torn between love for his outlaw son and the duty to do the right, honest thing. Enger finds something quietly heroic in the bred-in-the-bone Minnesota decency of America's heartland. Peace Like A River opens up a new chapter in Midwestern literature. --Claire Dederer, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Enger has given his narrator a voice that is perfect for this frozen fairytale.' -- The Times

'Poetic, magical and deeply moving...a remarkable book that can't come too highly recommended as an antidote for our uncertain times.' -- Birmingham Post

'Poignant and poetic, this story is crafted in the grand tradition of American coming-of-age literature.' -- Scotsman

'Resonant...a likeable, thought provoking read.' -- Literary Revew --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent service. Product as described.
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Format: Audio Cassette
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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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