Ten Evenings

Leif Enger

“I had been slipshod and revealed my cards. That alone was probably enough to spoil whatever cosmic narrative I’d struggled to maintain.”

Leif Enger, I Cheerfully Refuse

A career defining tour-de-force from New York Times bestselling, award-winning and “formidably gifted” (Chicago Tribune) novelist Leif Enger. A rollicking narrative in the most evocative of settings, this latest novel is a symphony against despair and a rallying cry for the future.

A story-teller “of great humanity and huge heart” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), Leif Enger debuted in the literary world with Peace Like a River which sold over a million copies and captured readers’ hearts around the globe. Now comes a new milestone in this boldly imaginative author’s accomplished, resonant body of work. Set in a not-too-distant America, I Cheerfully Refuse is the tale of a bereaved and pursued musician embarking under sail on a sentient Lake Superior in search of his departed, deeply beloved, bookselling wife. Rainy, an endearing bear of an Orphean narrator, seeks refuge in the harbors, fogs and remote islands of the inland sea. Encountering lunatic storms and rising corpses from the warming depths, Rainy finds on land an increasingly desperate and illiterate people, a malignant billionaire ruling class, crumbled infrastructure and a lawless society. Amidst the Gulliver-like challenges of life at sea and no safe landings, Rainy is lifted by physical beauty, surprising humor, generous strangers, and an unexpected companion in a young girl who comes aboard. And as his innate guileless nature begins to make an inadvertent rebel of him, Rainy’s private quest for the love of his life grows into something wider and wilder, sweeping up friends and foes alike in his strengthening wake. I Cheerfully Refuse epitomizes the “musical, sometimes magical and deeply satisfying kind of storytelling” (Los Angeles Times) for which Leif Enger is cherished.

Leif Enger grew up in Osakis, Minnesota, and worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio before writing his bestselling debut novel Peace Like a River, which won the Booksense Award for Fiction and was named one of the Year’s Best Books by Time Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. His second novel, So Brave, Young, and Handsome, was also a national bestseller. It was a Midwest Booksellers Honor Book, and won the High Plains Book Award for Fiction. His third novel Virgil Wander was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and was named a best book of the year by Amazon, Library Journal, Bookpage, and Chicago Public Library. He lives with his wife in Duluth, MN.

“There’s both a playfulness and a seriousness of purpose to the latest from the Minnesota novelist, a spirit of whimsy that keeps hope flickering even in times of darkest despair.”

KIRKUS REVIEWS

Books

Copies of I Cheerfully Refuse are available to purchase from White Whale Bookstore. After the lecture, the author will sign books in the Music Hall Foyer.

WHEN

December 9, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. ET

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Carnegie Music Hall (Oakland)

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Upcoming Lectures

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