“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.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
The authors first novel in over a decade is the story of Virgil Wader who at the beginning of the book is in a terrible car accident which he is lucky to survive but leaves him slightly impaired, both mentally and physically.
Virgil owns the Embassy movie theatre in his small town and is beloved by all. He wants to keep this small town together, and through his movie theatre, showing old films to sparse crowds he hopes to achieve this.
The big sub plot here is about Alec Sandstrom, the local athlete with a big future, who could throw a baseball through a wall, he just couldn’t control which wall it was going through.
One morning, kissing his wife Rune and son Bjorn goodbye, he took off in his small plane, flew out over the bay, and was never heard from again. This had happened a number of years ago and now Virgil and Rune are good friends and Bjorn helps work at the Embassy amongst other things he has to do.
This is a small town story with small town secrets, small town jealousy and small town idiosyncrasy. As Virgil works at recovery, the town also works at trying to keep together, despite its losses in life and its unsolved mysteries.
The relationship formed by Virgil and Bjorn and Rune drive the book, and as we see the town attempt to recover through there eyes we are drawn into this town, and eventually we can’t wait to turn the page and see what happens next.
A fascinating book, highly recommended.
Added 9th June 2019