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richardderus

Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

So Brave, Young and Handsome - Leif Enger Rating: 3.5* of fiveThe Book Report: Failing novelist and failure of a farmer Monte Becket, Minnesotan manque, meets Glendon the gangster via the good offices of his son the pathologically friendly, and to the undisguised disgust and reluctant encouragement of his dreary, negative wife, takes off to Mexico with Glendon to see what he can see.My Review: I started this book annoyed. I did NOT like the pseudoformal English that the author posits regular people used a century ago, felt it was such a cutesy way of making the story feel "authentic" and so contrived as to make me want to smack the perpetrator.I got over it. Glendon the train robber completely seduced me, just like he did the narrator, the narrator's wife, the narrator's son, and so many, many others along his twisty path.This is a tale about Truth, not truth, and the author shows us that from the get-go with the very narrative voice I found so irksome at first. There is Truth in the world, often to be found shoved behind elaborate scrims of lies, where the facts that tell the truth are woven into the most fantastical beasts of falsehood it's amazing.Leif Enger knows this, and tells us this amazing and important and underappreciated piece of knowledge in the voice of a man whose grasp of the facts is imperfect but whose knowledge of the Truth guides him and saves him from a wasted, useless life.Very, very worth reading. I say grit your teeth at the narrative voice and charge into the story full tilt. You will be very glad you got to know these characters. They do remain characters, though; some essential *oomph* is missing that's necessary to launch them into full personhood. Still, they're good readin'. Go to it, unfettered by fear of disappointment.