Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So Brave, Young and Handsome

I love Leif Enger's writing. It's almost like he has some sort of program akin to Photoshop for writing - and manages to edit words so that they're softer...more pleasant than the picture he's describing. This whole book has a romantic, old-west feel that immediately snagged me. Even though I had already started another book, the opening chapters of So Brave, Young and Handsome swept me up and into its narrative.

It begins with a former postal worker, Monte Becket, painstakingly trying to write 1,000 words a day to produce the follow-up to his first surprisingly successful debut novel. His son and his wife patiently wait for him to finish but Monte knows, deep down, that he doesn't have what it takes to write a second book. With a need to distract himself from his failure, he befriends his mysterious neighbor, Glendon Hale, and accepts an invitation to travel to Mexico with Hale as his old neighbor rseeks forgiveness from the wife he left behind years before.

Hale turns out to be a wanted man using an alias, and much like Peace Like A River, the story - while beautiful and not in a hurry to get anywhere - turns into a bit of a hunt as Hale evades capture time and again from an old nemesis.

In the end, the book has a little bit of everything. Romance, adventure, crime, art, philosophy and a not too shabby tale of friendship. I can't say I enjoyed it as much as Peace Like a River, but it's a pleasant read.

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