I have been waiting and hoping for Mr. Enger to produce another novel after LOVING Peace Like a River so much. Here it is.
Recommendation: Yes, I liked this book. I think if you liked his first, you will like his second. I did not enjoy it as much, but I think its a good story. I like the feel of the book.
What I liked: As in his first novel, I really liked the characters. They are well-formed and illustrated without too much distracting description.
This is an interesting story. It involves another cross country trip, another saintly outlaw, and bad law man. It is not a copy-cat of his first, but has a similar feeling. It is written to be romantic, but I don't think it is a romance. The draw of the West, making resolutions, changing your life, are all themes that flow through it.
There is a cool metaphor when Monte see's his reflection in the barbershop window, and Siringo talks about his wife not being able to see him, and Monte talks about his "hazy outline." I liked it.
Also there's a cool metaphor about Siringo's grasp.
I also liked this part. " 'She's so pretty, I just forgot how to talk,' Hood told me. I loved him for that. What man has not stood in lumpen torment before the face of beauty?"
Also, "violent and doomed as this world might be, a romance it certainly is." In response to, "this world ain't no romance, in case you didn't notice."
I didn't find this book predictable, and I was happy with the ending.
What I didn't like: I liked a lot of this book, but there wasn't a lot that I loved. I'm glad I read it, I hope it is successful, and I hope Leif Enger keeps writing. I think two of the things I liked the most in Peace Like a River were the family, and the power of healing. There is a family in this book, but its more of a supporting cast. Religion is mentioned in a positive light, but it isn't as magical. Also there are murders, and some bad beating-ups.
Over all I didn't like it as much as his first novel, but I think it is a worthy read.
I can't wait to hear what everyone else thinks about it.