Virgil Wander by Leif Enger

Virgil Wander

The first novel in ten years from award-winning, million-copy bestselling author Leif Enger, Virgil Wander is an enchanting and timeless all-American story that follows the inhabitants of a small Midwestern town in their quest to revive its flagging heart.Midwestern movie house owner Virgil Wander is "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 ...

Details Virgil Wander

TitleVirgil Wander
Release DateOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherGrove Press
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Adult Fiction, Literary Fiction

Reviews Virgil Wander

  • Larry H
    What a gorgeous, quirky, and utterly charming book! Leif Enger may have made us wait 10 years since his last book, but his newest, Virgil Wander , is definitely worth the wait.Virgil Wander is the slightly curmudgeonish owner of The Empress, a movie theater in decline in the town of Greenstone, Minnesota—which is also in the midst of its decline. One evening, on a snowy night in early autumn, Virgil's car goes flying off a bridge and into the ...
  • Angela M
    4+ stars I loved the writing from the beginning and fell for all of these quirky characters, and in the middle of the book I thought maybe this would be a nice story, predictable and sweet. I was partially right. The story ended up being more than that. In this down and out, waning town of Greenstone, MN, not far from Duluth, a lot of tough have things happened and it made perfect sense to rename their annual festival “Hard Luck Days.” Oh it...
  • Diane S ☔
    4+ In Northern Minnesota there is a small town called Greenstone. Having lost it's industrial footing, those who remain are a hardscrabble, kind of stuck in a rut, group of people. Virgil, is our narrator, he lives above and own the local movie theater, a theater that sells few tickets, but is s community staple. At the beginning of our story, he has just been rescued after driving, accidentally or so he says, off a cliff into a body of water. Re...
  • Debra
    Ever "Wander" why a book doesn't quite work for you?Virgil Wander is the owner of the local "movie house" when his car goes off the road and into Lake Superior. The accident has left him with memory and language issues and his entire town is unfamiliar to him. Speaking of the town, there are many quirky and interesting characters who remained in their Midwestern town long after others have moved on. So, I am most likely in the minority on this bo...
  • Dorie - Traveling Sister :)
    *NOW AVAILABLE*This book for me was definitely a 3.5 rounded up to a 4 for the writing. I longed to read this new book by the author of “Peace Like a River” which I probably hand sold to hundreds of people. Did I love this book, no I did not, but I liked it. Here’s why:As you know from the blurb and extensive reviews Virgil Wander is the main protagonist in this book and the story is told from his point of view. We begin with Virgil recover...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    4 charming stars to Virgil Wander! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Virgil Wander, the main character, owns a movie theater and lives in small town Minnesota. He has a driving accident where his car lands in frigid Lake Superior. After the accident, his memory and language are impaired, and life is completely new to him. Virgil sets out to piece his life back together with information he can find outside himself. Through some quirky characters, he is able to fill...
  • Cheri
    4.5 Stars“Got nothing against a big townStill hayseed enough to sayLook who's in the big townBut my bed is in a small townOh, and that's good enough for me“Well I was born in a small townAnd I can breathe in a small townGonna die in this small townAnd that's probably where they'll bury me” --Small Town, John Mellencamp, Songwriters: John Mellencamp ”If I were to pinpoint when the world began reorganizing itself—that is, when my seeing o...
  • Esil
    4+ starsIn case you’re wondering, Virgil Wander is the name of the main character in this book. He deserves this unusual name because he is a quirky man living in an odd town at the centre of a unusual story. From one perspective, Virgil is an unlucky man living amongst many unlucky people. The story opens with Virgil recovering from a spectacular car accident, and other characters die or have unfortunate accidents. But this isn’t really a st...
  • Karen
    Well, there are certainly a lot of subplots going on in this story, but I did enjoy it overall, especially due to the characters.Greenstone, Minnesota on the shores of Lake Superior used to be quite a booming town but is in a season of “hard luck” days. We have the likes of Virgil who has a near death experience at the start of the book and all the other characters and happenings revolve around him... and, I loved him 😊We have a missing Ma...
  • Mackey
    We have waited a decade for more beautiful, heart-wrenching tales from the incredible Leif Enger but the wait was worth it to have the astounding story of Virgil Wander.Virgil Wander is a sad tale about a declining rust-belt town; a town that has seen much better days as has it people. Yet the perspective changes when Virgil’s car plunges off a cliff into the icy waters below. His survival, subsequent “spidery” thoughts due to a concussion ...
  • Susan
    After reading the last page of Virgil Wander I feel like I'm saying goodbye to old friends. This book is set in a small town in Minnesota that has seen better days. After a near death experience Virgil Wander wakes up with a new lease on life. There are plenty of eccentric characters and a mystery to keep you turning the pages. Leif Enger is a master storyteller and I have loved all of his books. I highly recommend and I hope I don't have to wait...
  • Martie Nees Record
    Genre: Literary FictionPublisher: Grove PressPub. Date: Oct. 2, 2018The author, Leif Enger, is the winner of many awards including the 2008 Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award Honor Book for Fiction. He captures the heart of small-town life when the town has seen better days. This may be because he lives on a farm with his wife and two children in the Midwest. The title gets its name from the story’s protagonist and narrator. Virgil owns and ru...
  • Bam
    I enjoyed this charming, character-driven novel set in a down-yet-not-quite-out former mining/shipping town in Minnesota called Greenstone, perched on the shores of Lake Superior, near Duluth. The main character, the eponymous Virgil Wander, is recovering from a nearly-fatal car accident that has left him slightly "different" from a head concussion. Virgil learns that many townspeople thought he had died in the horrifying accident: "The message w...
  • Barnabas Piper
    It's been a while since I was sad that I book I was reading ended. This was just such a book. Enger is a genius, maybe the best living novelist. His characters are the fullest, deepest, and best. They are what make his stories go - it's not what *happens*, it is what they *do* that drives the plot. And he is funny. And he is a master of subtle description. To top it all off he writes the tone and place of Minnesota so well. I give this book 9 out...
  • Kasa Cotugno
    "Greenstone was full of people who could make you sad just by strolling into view." The mining town on Lake Superior's shore seemed to have outlived its shelf life, but there were those who continued living there despite decreasing opportunity and prospect. At least that was Virgil's feeling at the outset. Virgil, having just suffered a near death experience behind the wheel, finds his perspective has changed and his senses heightened, almost as ...
  • Judy
    There's something alluring about this book that called to me as I read. There's not a lot of action here nor is there any edge-of-your seat suspense. Just a quiet tugging to read more about the lovable, quirky characters and this community in Greenstone, MN that has fallen on hard times, but the residents still come together as friends and neighbors who know and care about each other. Virgil Wander has had an accident where his car went off the r...
  • Lesley Kagen
    Leif Enger is one of my favorite writers and I've waited for so long for a new novel that I was almost afraid to start reading it. But I did . . . I did . . . at a savoring pace, because I could not bear for it to end. I was enraptured. His voice. The town. The kites. The imagery. The deep sense of loss and rebirth. Geeze.
  • Ron Charles
    If you didn’t know better, you’d think that “Virgil Wander” had wandered over from Lake Wobegon. Leif Enger risks trespassing on Garrison Keillor’s needlepointed territory with these good-natured folks who are all above average for quirkiness. His novel takes place in Greenstone, Minn., a moribund place trapped in the amber of its own nostalgia. Greenstone is so desperate for revival that it stakes its future on a three-day festival cal...
  • Nancy
    Virgil Wander by Leif Enger is a lovely, quiet story on the surface, featuring quirky small-town folk who carry on in spite of heavy baggage. If you let yourself flow along with the gentle story, you will be caught up in the wind current of change and impending disaster to a satisfying conclusion. Have a little faith in these characters, and they will greatly reward you.Greenstone, MN sits on the great inland sea of Lake Superior. Its glory days ...
  • Jill
    “We all dream of finding but what’s wrong with looking?”Virgil Wander is a book about seekers – those who get lost in the journey we call life and then, if they’re fortunate, get found. Virgil Wander – a middle-aged man who is the proprietor of the Empress Theater – is a microcosm of his small and failing Greenstone, Minnesota town, “cruising at medium altitude, aspiring vaguely to decency…moderate in all things including romant...
  • marilyn
    This story is narrated by the character of middle aged, movie theater owner, Virgil Wander. When the story begins, Virgil has just miraculously survived his car sailing off the road into frigid Lake Superior and only lived because the local junk dealer saw the event and was able to pull Virgil out of the sinking car. Virgil now has a traumatic brain injury, with loss of memory, muddled speech and thinking, and no assurance he'll get back his past...
  • DeAnn
    5 stars on this wonderfully lyrical tale filled with memorable charactersI enjoyed the Midwestern setting and the town felt a bit like my own small town growing up. I read Leif Enger's first book "Peace Like a River" as part of a One Book initiative years ago, so when Is saw that he had a new book out, I was excited to read it.I liked the flawed character of Virgil Wander, he is a town clerk and also owns the movie theater in town, the Empress. H...
  • Nann
    Can I give this ten stars? It's only June 30 but I declare that this is the best book I have read, and will read, in 2018. (I heard Leif Enger speak at two author events at the ALA Annual Conference.) Virgil Wander is the proprietor of the Empress, a movie theater in Greenstone on the Lake Superior short north of Duluth. The town's prosperous mining days are long gone. Virgil had a bad auto accident some months before the story takes place and hi...
  • David Abrams
    Reading the sweet-toned "Virgil Wander" during these turbulent Trumpian times is like eating a stack of syrup-drenched waffles while, outside the window, riots fill the streets with smoke. If you need a break from the horrible noise of our headlines, sink yourself into these pages and visit a place where good people do nice things to each other, the skies are fulling of wind-caught kites, and hopes of revitalization glimmer on a town's half-deser...
  • Michelle
    I received a copy of this book from Grove Atlantic/Grove Press through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.The story opens with Virgil Wander accidentally driving off a cliff in his car and landing in Lake Superior. He is saved by a friend who happens to be in the right place at the right time. Slowly, Virgil regains parts of his memory and vocabulary (he lost the use of adjectives), but his sarcasm and wry sens...
  • Bandit
    Warm, lovely, kind…words I might use to describe my fiancée, but certainly not a reading choice. Normally I tend to go for something considerably darker, to match my worldview. So I was somewhat reluctant to read this slice of small town Americana with a distinct Midwestern flavor. And yet the gamble paid off. When done right, kind and lovely apparently can do well on the page, and this book is positively suffused with warmth, incongruous as i...
  • Jenni Simmons
    I read Peace Like a River by Leif Enger several years ago when I was very sick, and I befriended a kindred spirit in the narrator, 11-year-old asthmatic, Reuben Land, and his entire family. I had never read a story quite like it, and I’ve reread it several times. When Enger’s second novel, So Brave, Young, and Handsome, was released, I quickly purchased it and devoured it.But then there was an Enger-book void in my life until Grove Atlantic k...
  • ʚϊɞ Shelley ʚϊɞ
    Wander—what a name. It’s almost a calling. You’ve had some adventures, with a name like that. This story is so charming, full of humor and a grace that is often missing in these heavy-handed days. This book had such heart, and I enjoyed reading it so much. The characters were likeable and humanly flawed. A pleasant, entertaining novel, there are some very funny parts as well as serious and dramatic parts and some surprisingly pertinent expl...