So Brave, Young, and Handsome

By Leif Enger
(Grove Press, Paperback, 9780802144171, 304pp.)

Publication Date: April 2009

Other Editions of This Title: Compact Disc, Hardcover

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Indie Next List Highlights 2008
“Leif Enger again explores the often transparent line between good and bad, focusing his story on characters who fall in the gray in-between. Failed novelist Monte Becket accompanies his friend, Glendon Hale, a former outlaw, to Mexico to find Hale's estranged wife. Their adventures along the way, and the surprising end of their journey, make for an exciting and thought-provoking read.”
-- Erica Caldwell, Present Tense, Batavia, NY
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Spring/Summer '09 Reading Group List


Description

Now in paperback, the new novel by Leif Enger, author of the million-copy best seller, Peace Like a River, is a lively, big-hearted redemption tale; an unforgettable, picaresque Western yarn.
In 1915 Minnesota, writer Monte Becket has lost his sense of purpose. His only success long behind him, Monte lives simply with his wife and son until he befriends outlaw Glendon Hale. Plagued by guilt over abandoning his wife two decades ago, Glendon aims to go back West on a quest for absolution. As the modern age marches swiftly forward, Monte agrees to travel into Glendon’s past, leaving behind his own family for a journey that will test the depth of his loyalties and morals, and the strength of his resolve. As they flee the relentless ex-Pinkerton who’s been hunting Glendon for years, Monte falls ever further from his family and the law, to be tempered by a fiery adventure from which he may never get home.
With its smooth mix of romanticism and gritty reality, So Brave, Young, and Handsome examines one ordinary man’s determination as he risks everything in order to understand what it’s all worth, and follows an unlikely dream in the hope it will lead him back home.




Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What elements of Enger's book play off the conventions of cowboy movies and cowboy novels? In Chapter 12, we read "And so it came down to a farmhouse. As it so often does!" (p. 232) Monte's son, Redstart, "knew which members of the James Gang had once ridden into our town to knock over a bank and been shot to moist rags for their trouble" (p.4). What other traditions of the cowboy genres do you recognize in the book? The lore of train robberies? Cattle rustling? The nugget of goodness under the outlaw behavior?




Praise For So Brave, Young, and Handsome

“Deserves to become a classic.”—The Miami Herald

“An almost perfect novel . . . A great read.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“A sharp and brainy redemption tale . . . [Enger’s] laid claim to a musical, sometimes magical, and deeply satisfying kind of storytelling.”—Los Angeles Times

“An adventure of the heart and mind.”—Washington Post Book World

“Enger is a formidably gifted writer. . . . At times reminiscent of the sinew and gristle in the craggier work of Annie Proulx, and at other times aspiring to a Jean Shepherdesque folk poetry.”—Chicago Tribune

“A fine novel . . . worthy of comparison with Shane and Monte Walsh and True Grit.”—Dallas Morning News

“Superbly written, utterly compelling . . . A cracking good adventure tale.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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