Virgil Wander by Leif Enger
eBook review copy; 352 pages
Virgil Wander by Leif Enger is a very highly recommended, charming portrait of a man and a town.
Virgil Wander was just released from the hospital where he landed when
he accidentally drove his car off a cliff into icy Lake Superior. Rumors
of his demise are flying around the small town of Greenstone, MN, but
Virgil is very much alive. He sustained a concussion, has short-term
memory loss and a feeling that the life he is stepping back into, his
life, isn't really his after all. He also may be having hallucinations.
For twenty-five years, Virgil has been the owner of the Empress Theater
and a part-time city clerk. Now, as he recovers, he also needs to try
and put the pieces of his life back together.
Virgil ends up taking on a kite-flying roommate, Rune Eliassen, who is
looking for information on his
missing son, Alec Sandstrom. Additionally, the novel contains a cast of
memorable, perfectly captured characters: Nadine and Bjorn, Tom, the Pea
family, Jerry Fandeen, and Adam Leer, to name a few, as well as the
town of Greenstone. This is a wonderful portrait of a town and its
The story is told with intelligence, humor, affection, and just a touch
of melancholy. It is the portrait of a small town and the residents, but
it is also about rebuilding your life, defining friendship and family,
taking chances on change, finding delight in things like flying a kite,
and living your life as it happens. While the plot meanders slowly
through the novel, the narrative is simply charming - and needs more
adjectives - delicious, engaging, appealing and refreshing. Enger's
writing is absolutely superb. Virgil Wander really is a lovely, delightful novel that captivated me entirely.
My review copy was courtesy of Grove/Atlantic.