Wednesday, 15 April 2015

So Brave, Young, and Handsome - Leif Enger

I bought this book immediately after reading Peace Like a River, some years ago.  Why I left it so long before I read this one I have no idea, but glad to say read it I have, and what a lovely couple of days I spent in the company of Monte Beckett and the friends and enemies he makes along the way when he takes a different turn in his life.

Monte has written a best seller and given up his job at the US post office because he has done well.  The publisher wants another book (and more, if he can manage to produce them).  Sadly, it seems he had just the one book in him, for attempts to get another written are just dismal failures.  At the point where it seems he must go cap in hand to his former boss and ask to go back to work, he makes the acquaintance of Glendon Hale, a middle aged man who likes to mess about on the river, and builds small boats.  It's 1915, so the age of cowboys and outlaws is nearly over.  But Glendon has a secret - he has been an outlaw, and during the telling of his tales, he lets Monte know that he has to head back to Mexico, where he left his wife, Blue, twenty years ago.  Would Monte come with him?  And before Monte quite knows what he's doing, he's left his wife and child for a six week adventure. which turns out to be rather more than six weeks, and a very challenging adventure indeed.  The characters he meets are not so much larger than life than true to life, and you feel that you know them.  You hold your breath when the going gets rough, and you wish  the villain of the piece nothing but ill - even though he is (sort of) on the right side of the law.  The villain is an ex-Pinkerton agent, who has been tracking Glendon for years............
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