Virgil Wander is one of those books that gets better in retrospect. It’s also one of those books that I started and thought that I wouldn’t enjoy it. I was dead wrong. The novel follows the story of the eponymous protagonist, Virgil Wander, as he navigates his life in the small town of Greenstone, Minnesota after a driving accident that leaves his memory altered.
Home of the disappeared baseball player, Alec Sandstrom, Greenstone is a small, atmospheric town were all the residents know one another. The realness of the characters, how naturally they exist in front of the backdrop of Greenstone blew me away. The small details like Rune’s kites, the illicit film reels in Virgil’s failing theater, and frequent mention of classic movies make this book even more enjoyable. The imagery that Enger uses to paint Greenstone and characters like Rune and Bjorn creates such a tangible and timeless story.