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Review--So Brave, Young, and Handsome, by Leif Enger

So Brave, Young, and Handsome, to be published on April 22, is about a failed writer, Monte Becket, living in Minnesota with his wife and son. One day, he meets aging outlaw Glendon Hale, and agrees to run with him. Eventually, they are joined by sixteen-year-old Hood Roberts, automobile repairman-turned-criminal. They are chased by the seasoned ex-Pinkerton Charlie Siringo (who was in fact, a real historical figure who did indeed hunt down Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, and was one of the first detectives to operate undercover).

Siringo turns out to be the most intriguing character, and one gets the impression that Enger enjoyed writing fictionally about him. The other three main characters aren’t nearly so well drawn as he is. There are scenes where Siringo appears literally from nowhere, which sent chills down my spine.

But all the characters were enjoyable to read about. I’m not normally a reader of Westerns or books with Western themes, but I was completely engrossed by this book. Enger has the ability to make you care about his characters, even if they’re criminals on the run. The chapters and sentences in this book are short, but each one was powerful. The novel’s theme is ultimately about finding oneself, and one’s purpose, which Monte and Glendon eventually do.

Also reviewed by: As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves

Comments

Have you read his other book "Peace Like a River"? I thought that one was beautiful. I haven't read this one yet but it is on my list now!

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