Wayfaring Stranger

Wayfaring Stranger

by James Lee Burke
4.5 39


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Wayfaring Stranger: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
MountainPenelope More than 1 year ago
This is probably the most important book Burke has written to date. It is literature at its best. As much as I appreciate all his highly underrated work, this one far surpasses even Tin Roof Blow Down, which, was in my personal opinion, his best. Before that, Confederate Mist. This is not to say his other works do not pierce the psyche of his characters. They do. But this work is far different. More personal. It comes from his very soul. His treatment of the Hollands is even more complex than our old friend Dave. His theme of human fallibility, sin and redemption is profound. In my three particular favorites, I sensed a unique connection between Burke and the characters. Wayfaring Stranger leaves the other two in the dusty roadside. This is not because of his obvious respect and love and admiration of the actual Weldon, but how Burke got into his head and heart more deeply than in any other work. He did his cousin Weldon and many other WWII hero soldiers (my dad included) proud. They are/were all heroes, as much as one of my friends, who at fifteen, led her mother out of Austria and Germany in 1939. We cannot imagine the dread she felt as she led her mother through a snow-laden forest from Cologne to the Belgian border. It took five attempts to make the escape. My friend, thanks be to God, was never sent to a Camp, but she was molested by Nazi soldiers. I thought of her as we followed Rosita’s journey. Burke has always respected women in his books, and portrayed them elegantly. Within this work he continues with his female characters portrayed as strong and brave and intelligent. Rosita is the best of the best, the bravest of the brave. She is brilliant and gutsy and beautiful. I have noticed, within the last three or four works women are represented stronger and stronger, and Burke has given them a more prominent role. This was also the most profound love story he has written to date. When I finished the book, I realized I was crying. I don’t cry. I could go on and on and on. There’s no need. This is a masterpiece. If Burke never wrote another book, he could rest his reputation on this one. That statement does not, however, give him license to retire. I hunger for his next.
bookwormcf More than 1 year ago
I have read every book James Lee Burke has written.  Although I have thoroughly enjoyed his other book this one is by far the best.  His writing makes you feel as though you are right there in the story.  What a gift he is to us.
lg22 More than 1 year ago
Definitely one of my Top Five favorite books I have ever read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AS a reader of all the Robicheaux novels, I found this one to be good, but not great. I think what disgruntled me a bit was that the main character, Weldon Holland, reminded me too much of Dave Robicheaux, and not as a "new" character. Very similar personalities, including the bad characteristics. I couldn't help but be put off by Holland's priggishness and his narrow minded smug, prudish holier-than-thou attitude. Yes, he's a bit of a moral boy scout, but still. It's a good read about people and relationships and power. If you think Mr Burke is over the top about the power of Texan interests and what bought politicians can do, just look at what happened in Texas summer of 2014 - the politically motivated, trumped up charges by a Democratic DA against a sitting Republican governor. Some things never change!
Etherdude More than 1 year ago
The Wayfaring Stranger captivated my attention from the first paragraph. Having read virtually all of James Lee Burke's prior works, I was surprised to discover that the characters and plot were only tangentially related to his prior novel series and that the plot was really not a mystery or thriller, but more of a character study. The Wayfaring Stranger is full of classic James Lee Burke prose, atmospheric descriptions of locale, characters, and dialog. The only flaw I felt in the story was a plot twist near the end involving the "Wayfaring Stranger" himself. A highly recommended read. Very satisfying.
silencedogoodreturns More than 1 year ago
I think this is Mr Burke's best book in YEARS. It largely stays away from the shallow political commentary of his recent books, all the while continuing with the things he is justifiably famous for. For me, it is his continuing ability to paint pictures of countryside and pastoral scenes and of examination of the human character. He has few contemporaries there. While a delight to read, I give it only a 3-star due to the ending. It's as if a few chapters have been cut out. After spending the whole book weaving a big conspiracy against our hero, it just peters out, with no explanation for who did what why. Maybe in his mind he knew what happened and why, but it sure wasn't in the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And he paints extremely beautiful word pictures. This latest effort is, in my estimation, a masterpiece. His vivid descriptions stimulate our visual sense almost to the excess. The story line follows Weldon's life and adventures from teenage years through WW II and the the tumultous times following the end of hostillties. Mr. Burke has written an immensely enjoyabe and satisfying book. I eagerly look forward to his next offering. J M Lydon
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It just does not get better than what JLB writes, wow, I can not wait for the enxt one, PLEASE keep them coming-
Atthebeach More than 1 year ago
This is a great book, great plot, great story. Characters to love and characters to hate; good guys and really bad guys. Texas, oil people, greed, power, bigotry. Burke is such a good writer. Gritty and true. This is almost a non-stop read. Action all the way. Ended too fast for me; I wanted to know more. 
MysteryfanTN More than 1 year ago
This latest from master James Lee Burke follows the life of Weldon Holland through the thirties and forties. Like all of Burke's novels, the characters are compelling and the narrative is evocative. Highly recommended.
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Jrabe More than 1 year ago
It takes me a long while to read a James Lee Burke—this solely because I want to savor it and make it last, as there’s too much time between his book releases. I won a copy of Wayfaring Stranger from a contest on the Internet. I would have bought the book anyway, but this one is special…it’s signed by Mr. Burke. The cover is yellow, symbolic in my opinion because his words are butter that melt off the pages. He is a master stylist, an author I study and who I recommend to attendees in writer seminars I occasionally host. This book begins in the thirties, the tale and the characters traveling through the years. At times poignant and thoughtful, at others mysterious, the Hollands and their “world” are easily embraced by the reader. I give my James Lee Burke books away when I finish reading them…this because I want to share him with friends who’ve not yet read his works. This book is a keeper, though, sits on my shelf next to books signed by Gene Wolfe and Ed McBain. Wayfaring Stranger is one my friends will have to go out and buy on their own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sits infront of Nemisis. She tossed her a scrawny bird. Eat up. Tonigh is frog:)
Trublonde More than 1 year ago
As one of my favorite writers, I eagerly await Burke's novels. This one fell short, unfortunately. This character was too much like Dave R. down to similar sayings, thoughts and reactions to situations. But still an enjoyable read, the poetry and mastery in writing is always present with JLB.
EWM More than 1 year ago
Starts slow but same James Burke ending. Very good read.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
At the heart of this superb novel is a chronicle covering one man’s life from boyhood in the 1930’s to his service during World War II and the years following when he started an oil pipeline business. During each phase of his life he encounters what is the essence of the novel, the evil that men do to each other. As a boy, Weldon Holland had a chance meeting with Bonnie and Clyde, the famous bank robbers. Later, during the Battle of the Bulge, he rescues his sergeant, Hershel Pine, who was buried by a Tiger Panzer in his foxhole beneath a pile of rubbish. The two are then isolated and have to hide from the Nazis, eventually finding a half-dead female survivor of a concentration camp, carrying her miles until they found someplace to hide. The woman, Rosita, was Jewish, and Weldon fell in love with her, eventually marrying her and bringing her back to Texas, where he and Pine formed their successful partnership, the envy of established oil tycoons who coveted the business and threw everything but the kitchen sink at Weldon and Hershel to force them to sell, including massively attacking Rosita, smearing her name and worse. The prose is rich and the literary allusions are exquisite. The descriptions of the early post-war era reek not only with nostalgia, but capture the times with deceptive simplicity. Weldon as a character provides an offsetting moralistic tone to the evil surrounding him and Rosita. Mr. Burke has transcended his past efforts by creating a saga worth reading time and again. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too much effort to impress reader with his literary voice. I like straight forward writing much better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only thing missing is Clete Purcell. A good book but very Robicheaux in tone, attitude, and outcome.
beachpolly More than 1 year ago
I am so glad I can read the books of James Lee Burke.
GravyDavy More than 1 year ago
Once again Burke weaves a tale with interesting times. Couldn't put this book down. I hope he has some new books with these main characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mirella More than 1 year ago
A Wayfaring Stranger is set during the Great Depression in the state of Texas. A young boy, Weldon Holland, lives with his mentally ill mother and grandfather. At an early age, he meets Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow as they hid out on his grandfather's property. Haunted by Bonnie's beauty, and when his grandfather shot at their fleeing vehicle, he never forget this  encounter as it helped shape his future. As Weldon matures he leaves Texas to fight in World War II and in a concentration camp, he rescues a woman named Rosita, whom he falls in love with her, and after losing contact, he sets out to search for her again, and marries her, unaffected by her Jewish / Communist background. Together, they set up their lives in Texas.   Weldon meets the wealthy businessman Roy Wiseheart, recognized as a war hero despite the questionable circumstances. Their liaison with Roy and his wife Clara, sets of a dramatic chain of events that snowballed with each page and kept me gripping the edge of my seat until the very satisfying ending. Every character is highly complex, larger than life, with profoundly detailed backstories. Astounding dialogue, myriad twists and turns, multiple shocks and surprises, an endearing love story, and brilliant prose kept me so thrilled that I did not want to put the book down.  James Lee Burke is a talented author and he's written a book that has it all! It is very much a story about right and wrong, of standing by one's personal convictions, and of always being wary of strangers and their motives. Truly, this book is so visual, it plays out like a gripping movie. Very highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, this book was not up to Burke's usual standards. In the prologue, he said it was the best book he'd ever written so my expectations were for something truly special. Sadly, I didn't think so.