Peace Like a River


I’ve been re-reading this book because Cosmo had to read it for school and he was totally taken by it. I read Peace Like a River for the first time a couple years ago when it was the selection for All Rochester Reads the Same Book and it didn’t really strike a chord with me at the time. When Cos loved it, I decided I should give it another try, because this is a man who is not a reader. I wanted to see what appealed to him so much, and believe it or not, I understand.

Peace
is a family story full of mystery, memorable characters, and heart. I find myself totally drawn to Swede this time around, even though I found her rather annoying during my first read of the story. I’m wondering now why I wasn’t moved by the story the first time I read it. It is full of magical realism, which I first encountered done beautifully in The Milagro Bean Field Wars and thought then that it couldn’t be done any better. I was wrong. Enger blends the power of God with faith, healing and love in a way that rivals the story Nichols spins in Milagro. There are no shrines to Smokey the Bear in Peace, but there is Sunny Sundown, which bears a remarkable similarity in meter to my grandfather’s favorite poem, The Shooting of Dan McGrew. I’m about halfway through the book right now. I’ll be writing more when I finish it.