Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
A Novel

82%

22 Critic Reviews

The small-town milieu is rendered in picturesque detail, accurate down to period-appropriate TV programs, for what becomes a resonant tale of fury, guilt, and redemption.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE 2014 EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL
WINNER OF THE 2014 DILYS AWARD
A SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2013

“That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.”

New Bremen, Minnesota, 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 thirteen-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, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.

Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.
 

About William Kent Krueger

See more books from this Author
William Kent Krueger is the award-winning author of twelve previous Cork O’Connor novels, including Northwest Angle and Trickster’s Point, as well as the novel Ordinary Grace. He lives in the Twin Cities with his family. Visit his website at WilliamKentKrueger.com.
 
Published March 26, 2013 by Atria Books. 321 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for Ordinary Grace
All: 22 | Positive: 21 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Dec 16 2012

A novel that transforms narrator and reader alike.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Dec 10 2016

The small-town milieu is rendered in picturesque detail, accurate down to period-appropriate TV programs, for what becomes a resonant tale of fury, guilt, and redemption.

Read Full Review of Ordinary Grace: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jan 21 2013

Best known for the Cork O’Connor mystery series, Krueger...has produced an elegiac, evocative, stand-alone novel.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Carolyn Haley on Dec 10 2016

Altogether, Ordinary Grace forms a superb literary novel. It lingers in the mind long after closing the cover, and beckons one to read again for the sheer pleasure of the experience.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Carole E Barrowman on Mar 23 2013

...there’s such a quiet beauty in his prose and such depth to his characters that I was completely captivated by this book’s ordinary grace.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Carolyn Haley on Mar 26 2013

Altogether, Ordinary Grace forms a superb literary novel. It lingers in the mind long after closing the cover, and beckons one to read again for the sheer pleasure of the experience.

Read Full Review of Ordinary Grace: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Book Reporter

Excellent
on Mar 29 2013

ORDINARY GRACE is one of those very rare books in which one regrets reaching its end, knowing that the experience of having read it for the first time will never be repeated.

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Booklist Online

Below average
Reviewed by Connie Fletcher on Feb 01 2013

This coming-of-age story is obviously an attempt to show how grace can work through the fissures of suffering. While the setting is well rendered, the characters are too flat, and Krueger keeps striking the same monologist’s meditative note throughout, while most readers will long for variety in style.

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BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Stephenie Harrison on Apr 01 2013

Writing with aching clarity, Krueger deftly shows that even in life’s moments of unimaginable sadness there is beauty to be found. Don’t take the title too literally, for Krueger has produced something that is anything but ordinary.

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Denver Post

Above average
on Mar 24 2013

...Frank's voice is charming. His journey is compelling.

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The Christian Manifesto

Good
on Apr 10 2013

It holds a complex set of issues that are smoothly written into a gripping and finely woven plot. Well done. Wow.

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Crime Fiction Lover

Good
on Mar 24 2013

Beautifully written and at times heart breaking, Ordinary Grace is a must-read for mystery and literary fans alike.

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Englewood Review of Books

Good
Reviewed by Timothy Stege on Apr 16 2013

Krueger does a wonderful job of not only telling a beautiful and engaging story, but of revealing in even the smallest of ways how grace enters into brokenness and loss and grief and provides hope.

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The BookPage

Good
on Apr 02 2013

Writing with aching clarity, Krueger deftly shows that even in life’s moments of unimaginable sadness there is beauty to be found.

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Reviewing the Evidence

Excellent
Reviewed by Maddy Van Hertbruggen on Apr 01 2013

The book is emotionally compelling and deals with maintaining faith and moving on from terrible losses. I'm not a fan of Krueger's Cork O'Connor series, so I wasn't expecting to like this book. As it turned out, I loved it; and ORDINARY GRACE is my best read so far this year.

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Booking Mama

Good
Reviewed by Julie P. on Apr 15 2013

Truly, this novel encompasses so many universal themes about individuals and families, and I'm pretty sure that there is plenty to discuss. Overall, I loved ORDINARY GRACE and I highly recommend it to fans of literary fiction!

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Lesa's Book Critiques

Good
Reviewed by Lesa on Jan 12 2015

Ordinary Grace isn't an ordinary book. It's one of those special books that explains life in simple words that touch the heart. It's truly an exceptional novel.

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Men Reading Books

Excellent
Reviewed by East Coast Don on Apr 05 2013

Ordinary Grace is a great book. And it deserves as wide an audience as it can get. I’ve said to anyone that will listen that Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon was one of the very best coming of age books I’ve ever read. If asked now, I shall reply saying the best are Boy’s Life and Ordinary Grace.

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https://rhapsodyinbooks.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by rhapsodyinbooks on Dec 23 2014

This is above all a beautiful elegy and meditation on death, faith, and the decision either to turn one’s face away from God, or accept God’s grace in all of its manifestations.

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A Musing Reviews

Excellent
on Feb 20 2014

I was almost finished with this book when I tried to explain it to my husband. I ranted and raved about it so he asked what it was about. I tried to explain it for ten minutes before he pointed out that he still didn't know what it was about. "If I could neatly summarize it, it would be a two or three star book, wouldn't it."

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Killer Nashville

Good
on Apr 05 2013

The novel reads like an autobiography, not a novel, which is a compliment to Krueger. The voice is pure; the characters are real.

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https://www.csbsju.edu

Good
Reviewed by Ann Jonas on Feb 29 2016

The story "haunted him, in the way good stories will," and simply wouldn't go away. Readers of Ordinary Grace are grateful that Krueger persevered and delivered this extraordinary book.

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Reader Rating for Ordinary Grace
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