I am reading this, in a manner of speaking, listening to on tape, while I do the dishes, more precisely. Though I have a hard copy with me, as I like to do when I listen to books on tape, to revel in the loveliest passages, or to find out what’s going to happen when the suspense is too much. (I’m the sort of reader, who reads the last chapter whenever suspense builds, and then I can read, revelling in the architecture of the piece without worrying over the characters!)
Leif Enger’s book is full of the sadness that lies like a river over the best American novels I’ve read recently. The Good Mother, The Book of Ruth (okay, not that good), The Delta Wedding, Gilead, Housekeeping. The song of the sadness at the heart of the Universe, no less than the joy at the self-same heart.
It’s a darn good story too. Enger succeeds in bringing faith into fiction–what we have not seen with our eyes, or touched with our hands, but what we none the less believe concerning the word of life. Here is a novel full of faith and wonder. Highly recommended.
And the way things pan out is Biblical–so far (I am still reading it). They are kind to uninvited guests, sharing their last meals with them, so to say–and one of these, many, mostly ungrateful, guests, remembers them in his will, leaving them an Airstream trailer, at just the moment that the most desperate cry goes up from Jeremiah Lande, for a way of escape.