Virgil Wander

Grove. Oct. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780802128782. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780802146687. F
OrangeReviewStarIn his long-awaited new novel, Enger (Peace Like a River) takes us on one man's moving journey of renewal after his car skids on an icy road and lands in Lake Superior. Virgil Wander escapes with short-term memory loss, followed by visions of a dark figure no one else can see. For 25 years an unassuming resident of Greenstone, MN, a once vibrant town now in decline, Virgil works part-time as a city clerk and is the proud owner of the Empress Theater, which shows classic movies. Strangely, he feels the preaccident Virgil, self-effacing and apologetic, died in the accident; the vigorous new Virgil won't be pushed around. After almost burning down his kitchen, he takes on a curious roommate, Rune Eliassen, who arrives on a mission to find his missing son, Alec, a semifamous baseball player who took off from Greenstone in a small plane and never returned.
VERDICT With an unexpected dry wit, Enger pens a loosely woven plot about plucky Greenstone residents working to rejuvenate their town but finding a bonus in their own renewed enthusiasm for life. Surprises and delights throughout; definitely worth waiting for. [See Prepub Alert, 4/19/18.]
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