ORDINARY GRACE

WILLIAM KENT KRUEGER

grace“The dead are never far from us. They’re in our hearts and on our minds and in the end all that separates us from them is a single breath, one final puff of air.”

I don”t cry while reading but Grace brought tears to my eyes. This beautifully written novel harkens backs to simpler times but the relationships in the book are anything but simple. The time is1961; the story is told by Frank Drum, minister’s son. “It was a summer in which death, in visitation, assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.” Frank and his family are ravaged by the devastating events of the summer. His father being the town pastor is kept informed of developments by the police. Frank and his younger brother find a way to listen to these private conversations and hear more than they should.

The characters come alive in Krueger’s warm writing. It is a novel you don’t want to end.

“When my mother finally sang it was not just a hymn she offered, it was consummate comfort. She sang slowly and richly and delivered the heart of that great spiritual [‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’] as if she was delivering heaven itself and her face was beautiful and full of peace. I shut my eyes and her voice reached out to wipe away my tears and enfold my heart . . . And when she finished the sound of the breeze through the doorway was like the sigh of angels well pleased.”

“To this day there are pieces I cannot hear without imagining my sister’s fingers shaping the music every bit as magnificently as God shaped the wings of butterflies.”