Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

January 08, 2005

Saturday Book Notes

Peace Like a River reminded me at first of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also of Huckleberry Finn, as well as the story-telling voice of Garrison Keillor. Yet it rises above all these likenesses and may become, I suspect, a book to which others are compared someday. It is by turns somber and joyous, earnest and gleeful, fearsome and sweet. Not only has Leif Enger told a completely satisfying tale of childhood danger, he has done something few writers have been able to accomplish in our day. He has told a story in which people of faith are treated as not only interesting, not only "deep," but even heroic. Although I thought sometimes of Twain, and sometimes of Harper Lee, and even (fleetingly) of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, in the end the one lingering comparison was C. S. Lewis. Peace Like a River is a book about many things, written in a voice that is utterly unique and beguiling, painting a family portrait that no reader will soon forget.


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