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I Cheerfully Refuse by Leif Enger
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I Cheerfully Refuse (edition 2024)

by Leif Enger (Author)

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594442,207 (4.5)None
"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. Amid 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. A rollicking narrative in the most evocative of settings, this latest novel is a symphony against despair and a rallying cry for the future"--… (more)
Member:joyblue
Title:I Cheerfully Refuse
Authors:Leif Enger (Author)
Info:Grove Press (2024), 336 pages
Collections:NetGalley audio ARCs
Rating:****
Tags:None

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I Cheerfully Refuse by Leif Enger

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Set in a not-too-distant future marked by climate change, lawlessness, and corruption and governed by a dictatorial ruling class known as the astronauts, Rainy, a musician, and his beloved wife, Lark, a bookstore owner, live on the shore of Lake Superior until she is murdered. Rainy, in his grief, sets sail in an old sailboat partly to escape the perpetrators but also in the hope of finding Lark’s spirit. In his journey, he confronts severe storms, extreme evil and violence but he also finds friendship and hope along the way.

I Cheerfully Refuse by Lief Enger is a beautifully written dystopian tale full of contrasts between the beauty of the landscape and the horrors he encounters on shore, between the kindness of some of the characters he meets and the shocking cruelty of others and all written in lyrical prose. At times, the tale feels like a wild adventure and, at other times, like a fairy tale wonderfully told. This is not always an easy story - there are suicides, references to paedophilia, lynchings - but, in the end, there is hope. I listened to the audiobook narrated by David Aaron Baker who does an absolutely wonderful job of conveying the beauty and lyricism of Enger’s prose.

Thanks to Netgalley and RB Media for an audiobook of this novel in exchange for an honest review ( )
  lostinalibrary | Apr 13, 2024 |
Gdrd 4.24 1@5
  astonishinglight | Apr 5, 2024 |
This hot-off-the-presses dystopian novel packs a huge punch. I’m glad I didn’t shy away from reading it. Read my full review here. 3.66⭐

Publication day: April 2.

#NetGalley #RBMedia #ICheerfullyRefuse ( )
  joyblue | Apr 2, 2024 |
There have been many near future dystopian novels about climate change and the breakdown of social and governmental order but Leif Enger’s contribution reaches the rare level of combining the genre with lyrical writing, thrilling suspense, appealing characters, and a timeless romance. Additionally, Enger’s portrayal of Lake Superior conveys the profound beauty and threat of this vast inland sea. Enger’s characters encounter its fearful power and mesmerizing beauty.

Rainy and Lark live in an isolated and overlooked pocket community while the wider world around them is enmeshed in turmoil. The wealthy few are in control, the working class a kind of indentured servants. Medical research to keep the population compliant occurs on the ‘hospital ships.’ People are choosing death, hopeful for something better. One escapee from this system lands in Rainy’s hometown, on the run, and Lark offers him shelter. The man’s pursuers follow his trail with devastating results.

To save his life, Rainy takes sail on Lake Superior, encountering deadly storms. Stopping at small towns along the coast, he discovers helpful people while others are out for themselves; he visits places of mutual support and those that are raked with division and violence. He picks up a spunky and stowaway girl who seeks her grandfather. But they are stalked by the people who had destroyed Rainy’s life.

Yes, the story sounds horrifying, and there is horror with suicides and murders and corpses floating up from the lake. “What scares me is the notion that we are all one rotten moment, one crushed hope or hollow stomach from stuffing someone blameless in a cage,” Rainy considers.

But Rainy’s deep humanity and love, and the people who work for freedom and offer mutual aid lift the story so that, in the end, you are left with hope. There is still the beauty and wonder of the world, music and art, warmth and safety to be found.

Those familiar with Lake Superior will recognize the landmarks on Rainy’s journey.

Thanks to the publisher for a free book ( )
  nancyadair | Feb 14, 2024 |
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"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. Amid 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. A rollicking narrative in the most evocative of settings, this latest novel is a symphony against despair and a rallying cry for the future"--

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