C.S. Lewis once said that Phantastes by George MacDonald was a “voice which called to me . . . I knew that I had crossed a great frontier . . . my imagination was, in a certain sense, baptized.”
Though not to the degree of Lewis with MacDonald, I had that similar sentiment about this book – my imagination was…baptized. Amidst tremendous pain and suffering in the story of Peace Like a River, there is courage, faith, and strength. I found myself wanting to emulate Jeremiah, the father in the story.
Author Leif Enger did a fantastic job describing the scenery. I felt like I was in Minnesota while reading the book. I grew up in Minnesota and spent the first 14 years of my life there, and so this book opened up a lot of memories. There is also a scene which takes place in the afterlife and it was very similar to another book on this year’s reading list, The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.
Here are a few quotes from the book that stood out to me:
- “Hope is like yeast, you know, rising under warmth.”
- “She said it was such a true story it needed recurrent tellings so as not to fall out of circulation completely.”
- “The firelight had restored his face to healthy color and she, all Frenchbraided, scarf unslung, resembled an opportunity missed by Rembrandt.”
- “I remember it as October days are always remembered, cloudless, maple-flavored, the air gold and so clean it quivers.”
I read Peace Like a River right after reading Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory. Graham Greene is actually referenced in Peace Like a River, so that was neat and I love when that happens. The writing styles between these two authors were starkly different. Graham Greene is staccato and Leif Enger is legato.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable novel. It brought me right back to my early days in Minnesota, a place that I long for more and more as I get older. This was my first book by Leif Enger and it made me want to read more.