All St. Paul Reads: Ordinary Grace
Ordinary Grace, a novel from American author and crime writer William Kent Krueger, is the 2015 All St. Paul Reads selection.
St. Paul members and Augustana faculty members Katie Hanson and David Crowe will lead a discussion about the book on Thursday, Feb. 12, 6-8 p.m., Library Commons. Dinner, courtesy of the Book Corner, will begin the evening. Sign up outside the Book Corner, or online HERE.
Ordinary Grace is set in New Bremen, Minnesota, in 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for 13-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.
Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family—which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother—he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.
It is told from Frank’s perspective 40 years after that fateful summer.
“The book does not dwell on complex theological questions, but it is about the complexities of negotiating life, death, and faith as ordinary people,” said Katie, who is an assistant professor of English and education at Augustana.
“We chose Ordinary Grace because we wanted a book that would combine the fun of a book you’d take on vacation with the meaningful religious questions we find in classic Christian books. This book leans slightly toward the fun, but has a heartening religious story too, as the title implies.”
The author, she said, is known for a very popular mystery series about a detective who lives on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Cork O’Connor, who is half Irish-American and half Ojibway. He usually works on crimes that happen on or near an American Indian reservation.
The book is a New York Times bestseller, and winner of the 2014 Edgar Award for Best Novel, the 2014 Dilys Award, and School Library Journal Best Book of 2013.
Ordinary Grace is available for purchase in the Book Corner.