Don’t finish in a public place unless wearing dark glasses!
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! – I read this back in 2005. It was published in 2002, and it took him 7 years to produce his second (equally delightful) book. He is clearly a writer who takes his time, whittling his prose real slow, to produce something wonderful