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Peace Like a River: A Novel

By Leif Enger

324 Pages

Step into the world of “Peace Like a River,” where the banks are lined with secrets, and the current runs deep with hope and redemption. This captivating novel by Leif Enger takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the heartland of America, weaving together a tale of family bonds, miracles, and the power of faith. With its richly drawn characters, evocative settings, and lyrical prose, “Peace Like a River” is more than just a book – it’s an experience that will leave you longing for more. Join me as we delve deeper into this literary gem and discover all that it has to offer!


At its core, “Peace Like a River” is a story that defies easy categorization. It blends elements of literary fiction, coming-of-age tale, and even hints of magical realism. Enger masterfully crafts a narrative that keeps readers guessing and engages them on multiple levels.

The novel follows the Land family – Jeremiah, the father with an unwavering faith; his sons Reuben and Davy; and their sister Swede, whose imaginative storytelling captivates all who hear it. Together, they navigate the challenges of life in 1960s Minnesota while grappling with love, loss, and ultimately finding redemption.

Enger’s writing style is poetic yet accessible. His vivid descriptions transport you to the rugged landscapes of North Dakota and beyond. Each sentence flows seamlessly into the next, creating a rhythmic pace that mirrors both the ebb and flow of the river itself.

Throughout the book, themes such as justice versus vengeance, loyalty in times of adversity, and hope against all odds emerge organically from the characters’ experiences. “Peace Like a River” invites readers to contemplate these profound questions without providing easy answers.

What sets this novel apart is Enger’s ability to infuse ordinary moments with extraordinary depth. He explores faith not as mere doctrine but as an intrinsic part of human existence – something tangible that can shape our lives in unexpected ways.

Intriguingly layered with symbolism and metaphorical imagery throughout its pages,”Peace Like a River” leaves readers pondering long after they’ve turned its final page. With its blend of heartache and triumphs intertwined amidst breathtaking prose,it’s no wonder this book has become beloved by so many literature enthusiasts around the world.

The characters in

The characters in “Peace Like a River” are rich and complex, each with their own unique struggles and strengths. First, there’s Reuben Land, the young narrator of the story. He’s an asthmatic boy with a deep sense of faith and an unwavering belief in miracles. Next is his older brother Davy, who becomes entangled in a violent crime that sets the course for much of the novel. Davy is fiercely protective of his family and willing to do whatever it takes to keep them safe.

Then there’s Swede, Reuben’s younger sister, who possesses a vivid imagination and a talent for storytelling. She often weaves tales featuring larger-than-life heroes based on her own family members. Their father Jeremiah stands out as well – he’s a principled man with incredible healing powers that defy logical explanation.

These characters come alive on the page through Enger’s skillful prose, which captures their quirks and complexities in vivid detail. The dialogue between the characters feels natural and authentic, showcasing their individual voices and personalities.

Enger also explores themes of family bonds, faith, justice, forgiveness throughout the novel through these compelling characters’ journeys.

Their relationships evolve over time as they navigate challenges together while grappling with questions of morality.

Overall,”Peace Like a River” offers readers an immersive experience into the lives of its unforgettable characters.

It invites us to reflect on our own beliefs about miracles,forgiveness,and what it truly means to find peace amidst adversity

The setting of

When it comes to “Peace Like a River,” the setting plays a crucial role in shaping the story and its characters. The novel is primarily set in rural Minnesota during the 1960s, a time when small towns were still tightly knit communities.

The Land family resides in Roofing, where their lives unfold against the backdrop of wide open spaces and quiet simplicity. This setting serves as a stark contrast to some of the more dramatic events that take place throughout the novel.

Roofing itself is described as an idyllic town nestled alongside a river, which becomes both literal and metaphorical throughout the book. The river represents not only physical boundaries but also emotional ones – crossing it symbolizes new beginnings or leaving behind old troubles.

Enger’s vivid descriptions paint a picture of rural life with precision and attention to detail. From sprawling fields dotted with wildflowers to star-filled skies at night, every aspect of this setting adds depth and richness to the narrative.

Furthermore, through his depiction of Roofing’s close-knit community, Enger shows how people rely on each other for support and understanding. It highlights themes of loyalty, friendship, and faith that run deep within this tight community.

By immersing readers into this quaint Midwestern town, Enger effectively captures both beauty and hardship while showcasing how our surroundings can shape who we are as individuals. In “Peace Like a River,” setting truly becomes another character in its own right – one that lingers long after you’ve turned the final page.

The author’s style and use of language in

The author’s style and use of language in “Peace Like a River” is truly captivating. Leif Enger has a way of painting vivid pictures with his words, bringing the story to life in the reader’s mind. His prose flows effortlessly, creating a rhythmic and poetic quality that keeps you hooked from beginning to end.

Enger’s attention to detail is remarkable. He describes even the simplest things with such precision that you can almost feel them yourself. Whether it’s the sound of rushing water or the scent of wildflowers in bloom, Enger ensures that every sensory experience is beautifully portrayed.

One aspect that stands out about Enger’s writing style is his ability to seamlessly blend realism with elements of magical realism. The supernatural occurrences throughout the novel are presented in such a matter-of-fact manner that they become an integral part of the narrative, adding an enchanting layer to an already compelling story.

Another strength of Enger’s writing lies in his characterization. Each character feels fully developed and unique, their voices distinct and authentic. From young Reuben Land to his courageous sister Swede and their enigmatic father Jeremiah, Enger breathes life into each individual, making their journey all the more engaging.

Moreover, Enger expertly weaves themes of faith, family bonds, redemption, and forgiveness throughout the novel without ever becoming preachy or heavy-handed. These themes are subtly explored through both dialogue and introspection, allowing readers to reflect on their own beliefs while being immersed in this beautifully crafted tale.

Overall,”Peace Like a River” showcases Leif Enger’s masterful storytelling abilitiesand his gift for crafting lyrical prose that lingers long after you’ve turnedthe final page.

Don’t miss out onthis literary gem!

Themes in

Themes in “Peace Like a River” are rich and thought-provoking, delving into the complexities of faith, family, and the power of miracles. One prevalent theme is the unwavering belief in miracles and their ability to transform lives. The Land family’s deep-rooted faith and trust in God’s providence guide them through challenging circumstances.

Another prominent theme is the enduring bond within families. Reuben’s fierce love for his siblings and unwavering loyalty to his father showcases the strength of familial relationships. The novel also explores forgiveness as a catalyst for healing and reconciliation, emphasizing its transformative power.

Nature is another thematic element that runs throughout the book. Peaceful rivers symbolize tranquility amidst chaos, providing solace during turbulent times. Additionally, nature acts as a metaphor for life’s unpredictability – just like a river can change course unexpectedly, so too can our lives take unexpected turns.

Throughout “Peace Like a River,” Leif Enger skillfully weaves these themes together with poetic language and vivid imagery that engrosses readers from start to finish. His writing style invites reflection while immersing us in an evocative world filled with beauty and hardship alike.

Enger seamlessly blends elements of magical realism into his storytelling, further enhancing the themes explored in the novel. Through this genre-bending approach, he invites readers to question what is possible beyond what meets the eye.

In summary (not concluding), “Peace Like a River” captivates readers with its profound exploration of faith, family bonds, forgiveness, nature’s influence on our lives,
and miraculous occurrences that shape our destiny.

What I liked and didn’t like about

What I liked about “Peace Like a River” is the rich and vivid characters that Leif Enger has created. Each character, from the asthmatic narrator Reuben to his fearless sister Swede and their unconventional father Jeremiah, feels real and fully fleshed out. Enger’s ability to bring these characters to life is truly impressive.

Another aspect of the novel that I enjoyed was the setting. Set in 1960s Minnesota, “Peace Like a River” captures both the beauty and harshness of this rural landscape. The descriptions are so vivid that you can almost feel the biting cold or smell the damp earth. The setting serves as more than just a backdrop; it becomes an integral part of the story.

Enger’s writing style is also something worth mentioning. His prose is poetic and lyrical, with carefully crafted sentences that flow effortlessly on the page. He has a knack for capturing profound moments in simple yet powerful language, which adds depth and emotional resonance to the narrative.

One theme that stood out to me in “Peace Like a River” is faith. Throughout the novel, there are references to miracles, divine intervention, and spiritual beliefs. Enger explores questions of belief versus skepticism with nuance and sensitivity.

However, one aspect of the book that didn’t resonate with me as much was its pacing. At times, it felt like certain scenes dragged on longer than necessary, slowing down an otherwise engaging story.

Though,”Peace Like a River” is a beautifully written novel filled with memorable characters set against an evocative backdrop.

It offers thought-provoking themes woven into an engaging narrative.

I would recommend it to anyone looking for a literary journey filled with emotion,family bonds,and deep reflections on faith



“Peace Like a River” is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that explores the power of faith, family, and forgiveness. Engrossing from start to finish, it takes readers on an emotive journey through the lives of its unforgettable characters.

The book’s compelling storyline kept me hooked throughout, as I eagerly followed Reuben Land’s quest for his brother and witnessed the miracles that unfolded along the way. The richness of the characters added depth to the narrative, allowing me to empathize with their struggles and triumphs.

Leif Enger’s writing style is nothing short of exquisite. His use of language is both lyrical and evocative, painting vivid pictures in my mind as I read each page. From breathtaking descriptions of nature to poignant moments between siblings, Enger masterfully crafts a story that lingers long after turning the final page.

One theme that resonated deeply with me was the idea of finding peace amidst chaos. Through his poetic prose, Enger explores how faith can act as an anchor in turbulent times. It reminded me that even when faced with adversity or heartbreak, there is always hope for healing and restoration.

Another powerful theme within this novel is the importance of family bonds. The Land family’s unwavering love for one another was inspiring to witness. Their unconditional support served as a reminder that we are stronger together than apart.

What I particularly enjoyed about “Peace Like a River” was how it tackled complex moral dilemmas without offering easy answers. Instead, it encouraged reflection on what truly matters in life – love, forgiveness, and holding onto our beliefs no matter what challenges come our way.

While there were moments where certain plot points felt rushed or unresolved, overall “Peace Like a River” remains an exceptional piece of literature worth reading. Its ability to blend elements of mystery, adventure,and spirituality make it a unique gem within contemporary fiction.

In conclusion (without explicitly stating it), “Peace Like a River” is a book that will touch your heart

About The Author


Publication Date: December 1, 2007

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press