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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Front cover paperback
In May the local library hosted this MN author who is extremely popular locally  as throughout the state. The author is well known, acclaimed, and lives in the Twin Cities.    I had never read any of his books so I purchased this one at the others in  talk because it is a stand alone novel compared to his Cork O'Conner mystery series.  The bookseller suggested  this would be a good start for me.    It was first published in 2013, 307 pages and a reading guide with discussion questions in the back.  The writing is easy to follow and the story is well developed.  However for me there was not enough action/intrigue.  Possibly because this is the story of a family and primarily that of a 13 year old boy, Frank Dunn, preacher's son.  

The novel begins in summer 1961,  in New Bremen, MN and mentions that it was a summer" in which death in visitation, assumed many forms."  The prologue  2nd paragraph references the Greek ancient playwright Aeschylus, "He who learns must suffer.  And even in our sleep pain, which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."  So we are beginning to know this will be about  death, mourning and twists.  

Back cover
Pg 175, "Loss once it s become a certainty is like a rock you hold in your hand.  It has weight and dimension and texture.  It's solid and can be assessed and dealt with.  You can use it to beat yourself or you can throw it away."  

Pg 196, "I think we just keep going on.  We keep doing what we always do and someday it'll feel right again."  

Pg 302, "It seems to me that when you look back at a life, yours or another's, what you see is a path that weaves into and out of deep shadow.  So much is lost.  What we use to construct the past is what has remained in the open, a hodgepodge of fleeting glimpses.  Our histories like my father's current body are structures built of toothpicks."  

Author Krueger at the La Crescent Library.
The quotes show the depth and breadth of the writing.  Solid, contemplative perhaps and well matched to impart the story. This book about the death, finding the body and how there is a wrong accused.  the father is a Methodist pastor of 3 small rural churches.  The reference to Lutherans in MN being as "ubiquitous as ragweed," page 45.  There would be other deaths that summer including the sister, which will test the family beyond faith.  It is a Midwestern MN tale over all.  

I did enjoy hearing the author talk about his books and his writing journey.  So many there had read nearly everyone of his books, I was likely the only new reader of this author.  He is very personable.  There is nothing negative I can say about the book but it  just did not grab m.  I read it yet,  I am  not enticed to read others nor to begin the O'connor series.  I give it 3 & 1/2 stars, perhaps 4 ****

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