Virgil Wander

Leif Enger (Author)


The first novel in ten years from award-winning, million-copy bestselling author Leif Enger, Virgil Wander is an enchanting and timeless all-American story that follows the inhabitants of a small Midwestern town in their quest to revive its flagging heart

Midwestern movie house owner Virgil Wander is "cruising along at medium altitude" when his car flies off the road into icy Lake Superior. Virgil survives but his language and memory are altered and he emerges into a world no longer familiar to him. Awakening in this new life, Virgil begins to piece together his personal history and the lore of his broken town, with the help of a cast of affable and curious locals--from Rune, a twinkling, pipe-smoking, kite-flying stranger investigating the mystery of his disappeared son; to Nadine, the reserved, enchanting wife of the vanished man, to Tom, a journalist and Virgil's oldest friend; and various members of the Pea family who must confront tragedies of their own. Into this community returns a shimmering prodigal son who may hold the key to reviving their town.

With intelligent humor and captivating whimsy, Leif Enger conjures a remarkable portrait of a region and its residents, who, for reasons of choice or circumstance, never made it out of their defunct industrial district. Carried aloft by quotidian pleasures including movies, fishing, necking in parked cars, playing baseball and falling in love, Virgil Wander is a swift, full journey into the heart and heartache of an often overlooked American Upper Midwest by a "formidably gifted" (Chicago Tribune) master storyteller.

Product Details

$27.00  $24.84
Grove Press
Publish Date
October 02, 2018
6.0 X 1.2 X 9.1 inches | 1.15 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Leif Enger was raised in Osakis, Minnesota, and worked as a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio before writing his bestselling debut novel Peace Like a River, which won the Independent Publisher Book Award and was one of the Los Angeles Times and Time Magazine's Best Books of the Year. His second novel, So Brave, Young, and Handsome, was also a national bestseller, No. 8 on Amazon's Top 100 Editors' Picks and a Midwest Booksellers' Choice Award Honor Book for Fiction. He and his wife Robin live in Minnesota.


Praise for Virgil Wander

An Amazon, Library Journal, Bookpage, and Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

"Enger deserves to be mentioned alongside the likes of Richard Russo and Thomas McGuane. Virgil Wander is a lush crowd-pleaser about meaning and second chances and magic. And in these Trumpian times, isn't that just the kind of book and protagonist we're all searching for?"--New York Times Book Review

"Enger is a writer to be appreciated by anyone who cares about words. The book is full of little gems."--Seattle Times

"Enger does a truly masterful job of synthesizing these various components into a compelling and easily digestible whole. Virgil Wander is a fast-paced, humorous and mystical novel about hope, friendship, love and the relationship between a town and its people."--Bookpage

"[Enger's] writing leaped out at me - it's so easy and so vivid and so powerful all at once, and his characters are instantly real."--Tana French, Vulture

"[Virgil Wander] brings out the charm and downright strangeness of the defiantly normal."--Wall Street Journal

"It's an expansive vision Enger has, peopled with pretty regular folks but with room for romance and redemption, the drama of the everyman and the everyday...You can be sure you've been expertly led into the realm of fiction where everything is possible."--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Readers who enjoy tenderhearted stories seasoned with a dash of intrigue will find much to like in Virgil Wander... The novel's depiction of how broken souls can begin to mend is both thoughtful and moving. Greenstone may be a town shadowed by bad luck, but those who discover this gentle novel will consider themselves most fortunate."--Shelf Awareness

"Part of the sheer joy of this book... is reading the author's gift for language and metaphor... A colorful cast of characters complemented by the quotidian pleasures of small town life conspire to charm, welcome and teach us in that age-old way, through a story...So, be warned. You will fall for Virgil and the others who bring Greenstone to life."--Mountain Times"The focus of [Enger's] bright and breathing third novel feels mostly like life itself, in all its smallness and bigness, and what it means to live a good one."--Booklist (starred review)

"Surprises and delights throughout; definitely worth waiting for."-Library Journal (starred review)

Praise for Peace Like a River

"You don't see novels like this one very often. Peace Like a River reminds a reader of Kent Haruf's Plainsong or even Norman MacLean's A River Runs Through It. It's got that pure American loss of innocence theme, that belief in and fascination with miracles, that insistence on the goodness of men outside of the law." -Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A compelling blend of traditional and artfully offbeat storytelling...a miracle well worth witnessing." -Boston Globe

"The narrative picks up power and majesty, then thunders to a tragic, yet joyous, climax." -People

"If you like a ripping good story told in robust prose that gives you goose bumps, latch onto this book - more than a novel of miracles, it is truly a miraculous novel." -Seattle Times

"Enger has written a novel that's boldly romantic and unabashedly's a journey you simply must not miss." -Christian Science Monitor

"One of the most wondrous books I've read in recent years... [reminiscent of] John Irving's A Prayer of Owen Meany, another novel infused with transformative magic."-Charlotte Observer

"What could be unbelievable becomes extraordinary in Enger's hands...Amazing."--Miami Herald