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The Aussie Zombie

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So Brave, Young and Handsome

So Brave, Young, And Handsome - Leif Enger

I don't even remember when, or why I picked up So Brave, Young and Handsome (although the sticker on the back tells me I bought it somewhere in the Euro-zone - it must have been an impulse purchase at a train station!) and it probably would have sat on my shelf for a lot longer than the two years it's already been languishing if it wasn't for a challenge on Goodreads.

I think I probably bought it without reading the synopsis and mistook it for a historical fiction about WWI, which it wasn't. Instead, it was a story about a novelist who loses his purpose and sets off randomly on a trip with a man who drifts past his home in a rowboat one afternoon.

A mixture of adventure, road-trip and self-discovery, I didn't form a huge attachment to any of the characters. I could sympathise with Monte's loss of direction, and I could understand his need for some kind of adventure, but I really didn't get why, despite his unending comments about wanting to go home to his wife, that he didn't just go back and pick up his old life. I'm not sure if the author was aiming for a sinister or action-packed story, but if that is the case then on both fronts it didn't really work - I didn't feel any kind of danger for the characters, nor a sense that Monte wouldn't make it through his adventure.

There was however a distinctly wild feel to the story, and Monte and Glendon's wandering bought them to some very unique and vividly drawn locations, from the circus/rodeo to the open planes of Ohio and through to the hills of California, so there was a definite feeling of a real road-trip across 1910's America.

The favourite part of my book was the ending (and no, not because it was finishing!) as the characters came to the end of their journeys and realised exactly what they had been looking for as they had traipsed across the country together.

So Brave, Young and Handsome is beautifully written, but the language isn't over-complicated and instead tells a rather laconic, meandering tale of self-discovery and realising that the baddies aren't always who we assume they are.

Read more of my reviews at The Aussie Zombie

Source: http://www.theaussiezombie.com/2013/05/review-so-young-brave-and-handsome-by.html