Archive for the ‘William Kent Krueger’ Tag

Life’s Mysteries   Leave a comment

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Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, a coming-of-age story, center, around three mysterious deaths.

Forty years after the fact, Frank Drum recounts the summer he was 13. His musically-gifted older sister is getting ready for Julliard. His kid brother, more often than not, is Frank’s shadow. His father is a minister and his mother resents not having the life she imagined.

It’s early 1960s, school’s out and attending services where his father preaches on Sundays is the only real routine Frank has. Otherwise, it’s a halcyon, small town existence. That is until a young boy is found dead on railroad tracks; Frank discovers a vagrant’s body near the river and another death strikes closer to home.

The author blends vivid imagery of summer’s joys with a family’s grief. Frank is no-nonsense kid who’s sometimes insightful and at other times naïve. He’s protective of his brother whose shyness stems from his self-conscious stuttering. Such characterization is one of the novel’s strengths. Besides the close relationship with his dad, Frank bonds with Gus, who served in the war with his dad. When Frank isn’t sure about sharing concerns with his dad, he turns to Gus.

It’s unusual for a novel to feature not just one but two positive male role models; although at times, Gus’s behavior does raise eyebrows. The females are secondary characters even though their talents and interests are well-defined, they’re peripheral in Frank’s world.

The  take-away, though, is the power of forgiveness and acceptance in the face of sorrow.

Ordinary Grace

Four Bookmarks

Atria Books 2013

307 pages