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Ordinary Grace: A Novel Kindle Edition
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WINNER OF THE 2014 EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL
WINNER OF THE 2014 DILYS AWARD
A SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2013
From New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger, a brilliant new novel about a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961.
“That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.”
New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.
Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family—which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother—he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.
Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.
“Pitch-perfect, wonderfully evocative. . . . In Frank Drum’s journey away from the shores of childhood—a journey from which he can never return—we recognize the heartbreaking price of adulthood and its ‘wisdoms.’ I loved this book.” (Dennis Lehane, New York Times bestselling author of Live by Night and The Given Day )
“Krueger’s elegy for innocence is a deeply memorable tale.” (Washington Post)
“A respected mystery writer turns his attention to the biggest mystery of all: God. An award-winning author for his long-running Cork O’ Connor series, Krueger aims higher and hits harder with a standalone novel that shares much with his other work.... 'the awful grace of God,' as it manifests itself within the novel, would try the faith of the most devout believer. Yet, ultimately, the world of this novel is one of redemptive grace and mercy, as well as unidentified corpses and unexplainable tragedy. A novel that transforms narrator and reader alike.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred))
“...elegiac, evocative.... a resonant tale of fury, guilt, and redemption.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Once in a blue moon a book drops down on your desk that demands to be read. You pick it up and read the first page, and then the second, and you are hooked. Such a book is Ordinary Grace. . . . This is a book that makes the reader feel better just by having been exposed to the delights of the story. It will stay with you for quite some time and you will always remember it with a smile.” (Huffington Post)
“One cannot read Ordinary Grace without feeling as if it is destined to be hailed as a classic work of literature. Ordinary Grace is one of those very rare books in which one regrets reaching its end, knowing that the experience of having read it for the first time will never be repeated. Krueger, who is incapable of writing badly, arguably has given us his masterpiece.” (BookReporter.com)
“My best read so far this year.” (ReviewingtheEvidence.com)
“A thoughtful literary mystery that is wholly compelling and will appeal to fans of Dennis Lehane and Tom Franklin. . . Don’t take the title too literally, for Krueger has produced something that is anything but ordinary.” (BookPage)
“Not often does a story feel at once fresh and familiar. But Ordinary Grace, a new novel from William Kent Krueger, is both, and it is affecting.” (Denver Post)
“Ordinary Grace is engaging from the first page, a quiet novel that unfurls its sad story slowly, but eloquently, leaving its mark on your heart.” (The Missourian)
“There’s such a quiet beauty in his prose and such depth to his characters that I was completely captivated.” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
“A superb literary novel.” (New York Journal of Books)
“...the tone is much like To Kill a Mockingbird, with its combination of dread and nostalgia.” (Detroit News)
“Everything about this book, from language to ideas to Aeschylus’s epigram is beautiful and you’ll think about it long after you’re finished reading.” (The Globe and Mail (Toronto))
“I realized within pages this would be one of the best books I’ve read in recent years. The gathering threat and its consummation are satisfying and meaningful. This is an intelligent and compelling story told with great heart.... A perfect book club read, truly a book to love and read more than once. Absolutely recommended.” (Historical Novel Society)
“Besides being a terrific story that examines a powerful range of human experiences and emotions, it was the authentic voice of the teenage narrator, Frank Drum, that kept me reading late into the night. Though the tone is quiet, Krueger artfully layered the story with suspenseful examinations of family life, death, fury, spiritual fiber and redemption.” (Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt )
“Sometimes a work of fiction just comes to you, sits in your soul, touches your life experiences and then is hard to remember as fiction. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kruger is such a novel." (Capital Journal)
About the Author
- ASIN : B008J2G5Y6
- Publisher : Atria Books; Reprint edition (March 26, 2013)
- Publication date : March 26, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 6011 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 322 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,557 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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Again, not a super helpful review, but just wanted to put my 5 stars out there. So very well done, Mr. Krueger.
Ordinary Grace is not a bad book, but it couldn't make up its mind whether it was a mystery or a rite-of-passage book. As a result, it ended up being neither. There wasn't any real suspense, and the book reminded me of nothing so much as an extended episode of Lassie -- OK, there was no dog, but the hero (Frank, not Jimmy) learns 1.7 life lessons per 20 pages. And everyone, even the villains, are so good or otherwise not responsible for their evil deeds, so we end up feeling sorry for them instead of focusing on their bad acts.
I need to eat a pickle or some wasabi to get all that cloying, pastoral sweetness out of my head.
I would say that at least the first third of the book is dedicated to character development, so when the action started happening, it was wonderful. However, the long time spent on character development paid off, because I truly felt like I knew and understood the characters very well. When the story picks up steam, it will keep you glued to it until the end. The story is centered around the Drum family who lives in New Bremen, Minnesota. The family consists of a Dad who is a pastor and a Mom that feels she has wasted away in a small town. The children include, 16 year old Ariel, (the apple of Mom's eye) who is getting ready to begin school at Julliard, 13 year old Frank ( the story teller), and Jake, the youngest child. It starts with the death of one of Frank's schoolmates, Bobby. Bobby was ran over by a train and his death is suspicious, because it appears that he just sat there and waited for the train to run him over. Shortly after Bobby's death, Frank and Jake find another dead man not far from where Bobby was killed. As if this wasn't enough tragedy in this small town, there is eventually another death that devastates the Drum family personally. It is not known whether or not the deaths are connected and approximately the second half of the story is dedicated to solving this mystery.
I loved the audio part of the book and feel the narrator did a great job reading it. However, the Kindle Unlimited book was full of grammatical errors, which made it a little frustrating to read. Perhaps these errors occurred during the transference from written to digital. These errors were definitely not in the audio version.
Top reviews from other countries
The author expertly captures life in a small rural enclave and is told through the voice of Frank Drum as he looks back some 40 years with sadness and warmth. The writing is sublime combining the magical elements of a "Walton's" story with reality, harshness and struggle of everyday living. Yet it is the elegance of the prose that draws the reader in, making a lasting impression and asking us to question our moral values in an attempt to understand what is really important in this life we live...."I set on the steps of my father's church thinking how much I loved the dark. The taste of what if offered sweet on the tongue of my imagination. The delicious burn of trespass on my conscience. I was a sinner. I knew that without a doubt. But I was not alone"......."And what is happiness, Nathan? In my experience, it's only a moment's pause here and there on what is otherwise a long and difficult road".........."Whatever cracks were there the war forced apart, and what we might otherwise have kept inside came spilling out"......."because I was little more than a child wrapped in a soothing blanket of illusion"......"We entered a period in which every moment was weighted with both the absolute necessity of hope and a terrible and almost unbearable anticipation of the worst"......
I found out about the writing skills of William Kent Krueger through my active involvement with the book social forum "Goodreads" and what a delight and pleasure this has been. I look forward to reading so much more by this great author and will close this review with yet another astute observation of the human condition...."Being dead was a thing and not a horrible thing because it was finished and if you believed in God, and I did, then you were probably in a better place. But dying was a terribly human process and could, I knew, be full of pain and suffering and great fear"......Highly, highly recommended.
Two quick markers of how good it is.
1. I finished it at 2:30am. There aren't many books that have me so gripped that I keep reading until the early hours
2. It put me in mind of "To Kill a Mockingbird" (surely in everyone's ten favorite books) But crossed with Bill Bryson's "Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid", another personal favourite
It has it all - a rattling good plotline, characters you care about, some wonderful turns of phrase, warmth, wit and (just in case you fear it might just be a feel-good book) some serious reflections on life. If I could have given it 5.5 I would have
The story itself flows at a gentle pace, yet the quality of the prose, and the directions it took me had me turning those pages as quickly as any first-rate thriller I’ve ever read. It’s a very moving account of of Frank Drum, a thirteen-year-old preacher’s son. The year is 1961, and the place is New Bremen, Minnesota. I have to say that within just a few pages I was transported back in time to the world inhabited by young Frank, whose trials and tribulations seemed so real. The setting, the heat of the summer, simple pleasures enjoyed by kids of that era, the dialogue, being driven around in his father’s Packard Clipper, their daily routines, and his favourite B&W shows on TV - enjoyed, despite the snowy picture. All these details were wonderfully captured to provide a true sense of time and place. Also thrown into the mix was the often grim nature of death, the after effects of war on the local men who had fought in WW2 or Korea, and the contrasting lifestyles and attitudes of the rich folk residing in the Heights, compared to those living in the Flats. In addition, there were some interesting observations in regard to those local individuals whose blood-lines classed them as ancestors of the Sioux tribe.
Although the story is told from the perspective of Frank Drum forty years later, William Kent Kruger does a superb job of allowing us the readers to view the world as seen through the eyes of a thirteen year old boy, and never once did I feel that he veered off course in his quest to achieve that aim. Many have suggested that this book is destined to become a classic work of literature, and I would like to add my name to that growing number of admirers. This really is a class act, and it’s one of those rare books that I just know I’ll want to read again. It’s also worth mentioning that this would be a brilliant choice for a book club read, and in fact at the end of Ordinary Grace there’s a useful ‘Topics & Questions for Discussion’ section. Anyway, from me, it’s five stars all the way for this New York Times Bestseller. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
📖 + 📚 = 😊
Story intertwined with the intricacies of living in a small town. Issues of Faith tackled honestly!
Loved the characters...really, genuinely loved them! From the dad, who is terrified of fireworks (they make him feel like he's back in the war), but wants his kids to fully enjoy living; to the 3 kids who have such a palpable deep love for each other...that comes out in teasing and meanness! Like it would in most kids! To the mum, who you are worried might abandon the family at any point!
All of this woven through a gripping series of unexplained deaths...where this family are the keys to solving.
Family life, deep friendship, war and what it costs, love, death, murder, small-town living Are some of the themes!
Brilliant book...Will read it again v soon!!