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, Literary Fiction, Contemporary

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 th...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Maggie Stiefvater
    This book is like one imagines old people are like when one is little: big-hearted and long-winded.
  • 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...
  • Dorie - Cats&Books :)
    *NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK*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 V...
  • Elyse Walters
    There are many places to pause and re-read some really funny prose...or linger over some beautiful sentences in the town of Greenstone. It’s a town where people who live there are not sitting around judging it - even though it needs some sprucing up. And/ or their lives need some ‘sprucing’. Virgil’s near escape death accident - flying off a cliff in his car - brings curiosity. Townspeople have interesting questions for him about his acci...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Tim
    A complete letdown. 0 of 10 stars
  • Jenny
    Virgil Wander lives in Greenstone, Minnesota, a town with little to offer and even fewer prospects for the future. The inhabitants are good natured but quirky. In fact most are quirky.Virgil, the owner of the local movie theater, claims to be “cruising at medium attitude, aspiring vaguely to decency.” But life is altered when Virgil loses control of his Pontiac during a sudden snowstorm and plunges into Lake Superior. Saved by a fellow townsm...
  • Phrynne
    A new author to me and I enjoyed it so much that I will certainly be looking out for his other two books.I am a fan of books set in small town America, full of quirky characters, curious incidents, lots of baking and good old fashioned friendships. These places probably only exist in fiction but I lap them up. Virgil Wander is one of those quirky characters, on the high end of quirk since a near death experience has left him with a little bit of ...
  • Bkwmlee
    3.5 rounded up to 4 starsThis is one of those books that I found extremely difficult to rate, as there were many things I enjoyed about the book, yet at the same time, there were also moments where I struggled and thought about giving up on this one and moving on to other more productive reads. A few of the things I loved about this book: the writing, which was gorgeous and masterful and flowed so easily that I got swept up in it from the first p...
  • Jenna
    I have no idea why I added this book to my TBR list, but add it I did. It's not because I saw reviews praising it and thought, "Well, it's not something I'd normally read but I think I'll give it a try because this review is so enticing". (A couple friends have since written glowing reviews, but at the time, I don't think anyone had). I added it the day I catalogued it for my library so something about the book blurb caught my eye though I really...
  • Marialyce
    4.5 captivating stars My reviews can be seen here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress... “Memory’s oldest trick is convincing us of its accuracy.”Vigil Wander has been in a horrific car accident as his car careened over a cliff and plummeted into the water. He survives thanks to the quick action of a friend but his life changes. He is left with damage and struggles to regain not only his use of language , particularly adjectives, but als...
  • PattyMacDotComma
    4.5★“I couldn’t nail down what had changed in the apartment. To begin with, it seemed to belong to someone else. This made a kind of sense—my perceptions had shifted, just as Dr. Koskinen said.. . . Bending down I saw my two pale ankles sticking out of my shoes. I’d forgotten socks. Dr. Koskinen said I might forget to turn off the faucet, might gas myself somehow, set my sleeves on fire. He wasn’t thrilled I lived alone.”Virgil Wand...
  • Kathleen
    Enger has beautifully written a tale of magical realism. Greenstone, Minnesota is a town on the shores of Lake Superior that is limping along—the taconite mines have closed, the big ships no longer stop, and even the water tower collapsed and rolled through town. Virgil is the City Clerk and owner of the The Empress movie theater, a derelict building where he shows movies to a half-dozen patrons. The local baseball sensation disappeared ten yea...
  • 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...
  • Bianca
    Virgil Wander almost died. Following his accident, he's a new person. His language has lost many adjectives and adverbs, but that only makes him sound more assertive, something Virgil has never been guilty of. Middle-aged and a bit of a loner, he's been cruising along, working as a city clerk during the day and running at a loss the Empress - the only cinema in the small, dying Greenstone, Minnesota. Life was uneventful and extremely predictable....
  • 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...
  • Andrew Smith
    The set-up of this novel reminds me very much of Richard Russo’s Nobody’s Fool: a small town where everybody seems to know everyone else, the town itself having seen better days and a central character being a well liked man who has yet to achieve anything of significance in his life. I really loved Russo’s book and I have to say that this one doesn't suffer too much by comparison. In this instance the town is called Greenstone and is situa...
  • Bam cooks the books ;-)
    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...
  • 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 r...
  • Tucker
    3.5 stars.
  • Linda Hart
    Leif Enger's book, Peace Like a River, has occupied a place in my heart for 9 or 10 years and I have waited for him to write another. Like his earlier novel, there are some magical moments and also some dark forces at play in the fictional small midwestern "Bad Luck" town of Greenstone. The author allows you to decide which ends up stronger. I couldn't put down this beautifully written book with its memorable characters, laugh-out-loud scenes, my...
  • Jeanette
    Rarely, rarely do you come across such superior writing description and a story that involves more than a dozen characters who are carved individuals. And seem quite real life. They did to me.And then you have all of Minnesota ambiance as November turns to December and in Greenstone whose new "Hard Luck Festival" being planned really does "fit". Because the town has in nearly every nuance of measurement lived up to its name of "hard luck" history...