An enchanting and timeless novel that follows the inhabitants of a Midwestern town in their quest to revive its flagging heart
by Leif Enger
Black Cat, September 2018
VIRGIL WANDER tells the story of a Midwestern movie house owner “cruising along at medium altitude” when his car flies off the road into icy Lake Superior. Virgil survives but his language and memory are altered and he emerges into a world no longer familiar to him. Awakening in this new life, Virgil begins piecing together his history and the lore of their broken town through a cast of affable and curious locals—from Rune, a twinkling, pipe-smoking, kite-flying stranger who appears to investigate the mystery of his disappeared son; to Nadine, the reserved, enchanting wife of the vanished man; to Tom, a journalist and Virgil’s oldest friend; and various members of the Pea family confronting tragedies of their own. Into this community returns a shimmering prodigal son who may hold the key to reviving their flagging town.
With intelligent humor and captivating whimsy, Leif Enger conjures a remarkable portrait of a region and its residents, who, for reasons of choice or circumstance, never made it out of their defunct industrial district. Carried aloft by quotidian pleasures including movies, fishing, kissing in parked cars, playing sports, and falling in love, VIRGIL WANDER is a journey into the heart and heartache of an oft-overlooked Midwest by an award-winning master storyteller.
Leif Enger was raised in Osakis, Minnesota, and worked as a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio before writing his bestselling debut novel “Peace Like a River”, which won the Independent Publisher Book Award and was one of the Los Angeles Times and Time Magazine’s Best Books of the Year. His second novel, “So Brave, Young, and Handsome”, was also a national bestseller, No. 8 on Amazon’s Top 100 Editors’ Picks and a Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award Honor Book for Fiction. He and his wife Robin live in Minnesota.