Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger

by Jessica Anderson on February 23, 2011

in Fiction, Reviews

Title: Peace Like a River
Author: Leif Enger
Pages: 320
Originally Published: 2001
Format I Read: Paperback
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Rating: [rating:5]


This. Book. Is. One of my favorite books of all time. It’s so very good. And, as often happens when I try to review my favorite books, I’m at a loss for words. Thus, the publisher’s blurb:

Leif Enger’s best-selling debut is at once a heroic quest, a tragedy, and a love story, in which “what could be unbelievable becomes extraordinary” (Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald). Enger brings us eleven-year-old Reuben Land, an asthmatic boy in the Midwest who has reason to believe in miracles. Along with his sister and father, Reuben finds himself on a cross-country search for his outlaw older brother who has been controversially charged with murder. Their journey unfolds like a revelation, and its conclusion shows how family, love, and faith can stand up to the most terrifying of enemies, the most tragic of fates.

I first read this book several years ago with a book club, and I reread it recently with a different book club. I loved it then, and I loved it now. It’s just so pitch-perfect. The writing. The characters. Sunny Sundown (an epic cowboy poem scribed by Reuben’s younger sister Swede). The quest. Sigh. Books like these make me ever so happy. I had a whole list of things I wanted to cover in this post. (I took such detailed notes for this reread.) But, now that I think on it, I will just recommend that you read it. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Oh, and about three years ago, I got to spend an evening with Leif Enger. Squee!

Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger [rating:5]

Other Reviews:
Book Nut
Booking Mama
In Spring It Is the Dawn
Library Queue
The Magic Lasso
Peaceful Reader
Reading, Writing, and Retirement
Tif Talks Books
Word Lily

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kailana February 23, 2011 at 5:24 am

I have owned this book forever and still not read it! Should remedy that one of these days…


Tricia February 23, 2011 at 6:41 am

My feelings about this book are definitely in the minority. I wonder if I tried it again what I would think. Thanks for the linky love. :)


Loren Eaton February 23, 2011 at 7:42 am

Truly wonderful title in every way. It’s tender and ferocious, sentimental and hardboiled. Plus, it has metered and rhyming epic cowboy poetry. Pure awesome.


Shelley (Book Clutter) February 23, 2011 at 10:35 am

I listened to the audio of this years ago and loved it. I have always wanted to go back and read the print copy. It has such a good feel to it, and I love it when that happens!


bermudaonion (Kathy) February 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Wow, one of your favorite books ever and it stood up to a re-read! This sounds fabulous!


Jessica February 23, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Kailana – As you can tell, I would definitely recommend it. I have had Enger’s second book, SO BRAVE, YOUNG, AND HANDSOME on my shelf for years and haven’t gotten to it. We all have those books around.

Tricia – We discussed this book in two of my book clubs, and not everyone loved it. So, I know it’s not for everyone. It just really worked for me.

Loren – I’m with you on the epic cowboy poetry. I love that Swede.

Shelley – Ooh, I’ll bet the audio book was a great experience. I’ll have to watch out for it.

Kathy – I know! Not every book stands up to a reread, but this one definitely did for me.


1morechapter February 26, 2011 at 8:38 am

Thanks for linking to my review.

I loved this one, too. I’d love to meet Leif Enger!!


Teddy March 1, 2011 at 12:04 am

This book has been on my TBR for a very long time, I must get to it.


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