‘Virgil Wander’, by Leif Enger

Virgil Wander.jpg

I can’t think of anything wrong with this book but I just didn’t enjoy it at all. Virgil Wander wakes up after a car accident at the beginning of the book and finds his language and his personality altered. The rest of the story follows Virgil’s attempts to piece a new life together through his interactions with the rest of the community.

A real strength of this book is the characters, and there are lots of them. Virgil is surrounded by different figures who show him compassion and offer him acceptance despite his changed sense of self. The writing itself is beautiful too. I found myself rereading paragraphs on several occasions just because I enjoyed the phrasing.

I don’t know why this book didn’t work for me. I fully expected to love it. I usually enjoy books with a wide cast of quirky characters, and I liked the uplifting messages throughout the story. In fact, I recently gave a very positive review to ‘The Map of Us’, for reasons which can almost all be applied to ‘Virgil Wander’.

But somehow, for some reason, I found myself bored. I didn’t feel attached to Virgil and didn’t particularly care what happened to him. I felt pretty disconnected to most of the characters, despite objectively being able to say that they were likeable. And when there were tragic moments, I found myself unaffected.

I anticipate being in the minority with this one, because I feel sure that it’s full of things most readers will love (things that I would usually love myself). But something felt like it was missing for me, and I’m frustrated that I can’t work out what it is.

Thank you to Netgalley and Atlantic Monthly Press for giving me this book free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.


3 thoughts on “‘Virgil Wander’, by Leif Enger

    1. Thank you! I don’t like giving negative feedback about books (especially when there’s nothing in them to really deserve it!) but this just didn’t work for me. Looking forward to getting onto some new books now 🙂


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