A rollicking narrative in the most evocative of settings, this latest novel is a symphony against despair and a rallying cry for the future.
I CHEERFULLY REFUSE
by Leif Enger
Grove Press, April 2024
Set in a not-too-distant America, I CHEERFULLY REFUSE is the tale of a bereaved musician setting sail across a sentient Lake Superior in search of his departed, deeply beloved, bookselling wife. Rainy, an endearing bear of an Orphean narrator, seeks refuge in the harbors, fogs and remote islands of the inland sea. Encountering lunatic storms and rising corpses from the warming depths, Rainy finds on land an illiterate and increasingly desperate people, a malignant billionaire ruling class, crumbled infrastructure, and a lawless society. Amidst the Swiftean challenges of life at sea and no safe landings, Rainy is lifted by the beauty around him, surprising humor, generous strangers, and an unexpected companion in a young girl who comes aboard. And as his innate guileless nature begins to make an inadvertent rebel of him, Rainy’s private quest for the love of his life grows into something wider and wilder, sweeping up friends and foes alike in his strengthening wake.
I CHEERFULLY REFUSE epitomizes the “musical, sometimes magical and deeply satisfying kind of storytelling” (Los Angeles Times) for which Leif Enger is cherished.
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. His third novel, Virgil Wander, was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and was named a best book of the year by Amazon, Library Journal, Bookpage, and Chicago Public Library. He lives with his wife in Duluth, MN.