How often is it that you find a book you really love? I personally have eclectic tastes, and enjoy variety in my literary diet. I read a lot of books I very much enjoy, but it's rare that I find one so absorbing, so beautifully written, that speaks to my personal predilections, philosophical occupations, and preference in style.
That's why I SO much enjoyed reading Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. My own editor at Atria Books was nice enough to give me an advanced reading copy of this book and I was absolutely entranced by it. It's the kind of book where you fight between wanting to race through it to the finish and attempting to make it last. Luckily it's paced so well and is so satisfying a meal for the mind, I was able to put it down every few chapters and happily mull over what has gone before, feeling sated.
It's the kind of introspective, intelligent novel where there are layers of meaning behind every word, and personal history and context wrapped in the motives of every character. It also has a strong plot, for those who like Kent Krueger for his thrillers. I think what I like best about the novel, however, is how evocative of a certain atmosphere it is. It's the atmosphere of innocence infringing on experience, of the joyous, almost uncaring freedom of late childhood grating against the terrible responsibilities and knowledge of adulthood, and of rural 60s' America, a country where churchgoers were moderate, people entered into marriage, love and sex in naivety, children swam in quarries and played by railroad tracks and the summers were hot and dusty.
At the end, I found myself disappointed that it was over - which must be a good thing! I won't give anything away but I really wanted to see more of certain characters. I suppose, however, a novel has to end somewhere. Though if Kent Krueger wrote a sequel to this I would definitely read it. I was especially intrigued by the character of the mother, and found myself wanting to know more about her and her viewpoint throughout the novel.
A really great book with a wonderful, pitch perfect voice. I very much recommend it.
Suggested Soundtrack: Tom Waits' Cold, Cold Ground.