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Benediction

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Benediction Cover

ISBN13: 9780307959881
ISBN10: 0307959880
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Awards

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the beloved and best-selling author of Plainsong and Eventide comes a story of life and death, and the ties that bind, once again set out on the High Plains in Holt, Colorado.

When Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and his wife, Mary, must work together to make his final days as comfortable as possible. Their daughter, Lorraine, hastens back from Denver to help look after him; her devotion softens the bitter absence of their estranged son, Frank, but this cannot be willed away and remains a palpable presence for all three of them. Next door, a young girl named Alice moves in with her grandmother and contends with the painful memories that Dad's condition stirs up of her own mother's death. Meanwhile, the town’s newly arrived preacher attempts to mend his strained relationships with his wife and teenaged son, a task that proves all the more challenging when he faces the disdain of his congregation after offering more than they are accustomed to getting on a Sunday morning. And throughout, an elderly widow and her middle-aged daughter do everything they can to ease the pain of their friends and neighbors.

Despite the travails that each of these families faces, together they form bonds strong enough to carry them through the most difficult of times.  Bracing, sad and deeply illuminating, Benediction captures the fullness of life by representing every stage of it, including its extinction, as well as the hopes and dreams that sustain us along the way. Here Kent Haruf gives us his most indelible portrait yet of this small town and reveals, with grace and insight, the compassion, the suffering and, above all, the humanity of its inhabitants. 

Review:

"In Holt, the fictional Colorado town where all of Haruf's novels are set, longtime resident Dad Lewis is dying of cancer. Happily married (he calls his wife 'his luck'), Dad spends his last weeks thinking over his life, particularly an incident that ended badly with a clerk in his store, and his relationship with his estranged son. As his wife and daughter care for him, life goes on: one of the Lewises' neighbors takes in her young granddaughter; an elderly woman and her middle-aged daughter visit with the Lewises, with each other, and with the new minister, whose wife and son are unhappy about his transfer to Holt from Denver. Haruf isn't interested in the trendy or urban; as he once said, he writes about 'regular, ordinary, sort of elemental' characters, who speak simply and often don't speak much at all. 'Regular and ordinary' can equate with dull. However, though this is a quiet book, it's not a boring one. Dad and his family and neighbors try, in small, believable ways, to make peace with those they live among, to understand a world that isn't the one in which they came of age. Separately and together, all the characters are trying to live — and in Dad's case, to die — with dignity, a struggle Haruf (Eventide) renders with delicacy and skill. Agent: Nancy Stauffer Cahoon, Nancy Stauffer Associates." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

“Reverberant....From the terroir and populace of his native American West, the author of Plainsong and Eventide again draws a story elegant in its simple telling and remarkable in its authentic capture of universal human emotions.” Brad Hooper, Booklist

Review:

"His finest-tuned tale yet....There is a deep, satisfying music to this book, as Haruf weaves between such a large cast of characters in so small a space....Strangely, wonderfully, the moment of a man's passing can be a blessing in the way it brings people together. Benediction recreates this powerful moment so gracefully it is easy to forget that, like [the town of] Holt, it is a world created by one man." John Freeman, The Boston Globe

Review:

"A quiet and profound statement about endings, about change and death and endurance, and about the courage it takes to finally let go....What's remarkable is Haruf's ability, once again, to square quotidian events with what it means to be alive and bound in ordinary pleasure with ordinary people [with] a matter-of-fact tone, with spare declarative sentences and plain-speak among the characters that is, in its bare-bones clarity, often heartbreakingly authentic." Debra Gwartney, The Oregonian

Review:

"What Haruf makes of this patch of ground is magic [and] Benediction spreads its blessing over the entire town. Haruf isn't interested in evil so much as the frailties that defeat us — loneliness, a failure to connect with one another, the lack of courage to change....[He] makes us admire his characters' ability not only to carry on but also to enjoy simple pleasures." Dan Cryer, San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"We've waited a long time for an invitation back to Holt, home to Kent Haruf's novels....He may be the most muted master in American fiction [and] Benediction seems designed to catch the sound of those fleeting good moments [with] scenes Hemingway might have written had he survived." Ron Charles, Washington Post

Synopsis:

From the beloved and best-selling author comes a story of life and death, family and community, once again set out on the high plains in Holt, Colorado.

When Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and his wife must work together, along with their daughter, to make his final days as comfortable as possible, despite the bitter absence of their estranged son. Next door, a young girl moves in with her grandmother and contends with the memories that Dad's condition stirs up of her own mother's death. A newly arrived preacher attempts to mend his strained relationships with his wife and son, and soon faces the disdain of his congregation when he offers more than they are used to getting on Sunday mornings. And throughout, an elderly widow and her middle-aged daughter do all they can to ease the pain of their friends and neighbors. Here Haruf gives us his most indelible portrait yet of this small town, one that highlights the compassion, the suffering, and, above all, the humanity of its inhabitants.

About the Author

Kent Haruf’s honors include a Whiting Foundation Writers’ Award, the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award, the Wallace Stegner Award, and a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation; he has also been a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the New Yorker Book Award. He lives with his wife, Cathy, in their native Colorado.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

smiley reader, July 8, 2013 (view all comments by smiley reader)
The fact that Benediction is an easy, quick read is misleading. The depth of character development, mostly through dialogue and conversation, and the way their lives are interwoven gives Benediction a depth that asks for a deeper reading.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Barney, March 1, 2013 (view all comments by Barney)
This is a magnificent novel. It's about a man dying, but contains so many scenes of life and hope that I had to put the book down after each chapter and stare out into space absorbing the beauty of Haruf's world. Haruf tells an emotional story, really several small stories as he goes back in time to reveal the fullness of a life, that emcompass several different characters and yet it all seems so simple. His sentences are often declarative and his descriptions modestly elegant. He shifts from character to character with each chapter and his decisions on where to take the story seem inevitable and never contrived. I got the feeling when reading this book that this story has always been out there and Haruf somehow excavated it like a sculptor chiseling out a magnificent statue hidden in a block of stone. The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it ended.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307959881
Author:
Haruf, Kent
Publisher:
Knopf
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20130226
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.54 x 6.53 x 1.13 in 1.14 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Staff Favorites
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » New Arrivals
Religion » Western Religions » Religious Fiction

Benediction Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.50 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Knopf - English 9780307959881 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Holt, the fictional Colorado town where all of Haruf's novels are set, longtime resident Dad Lewis is dying of cancer. Happily married (he calls his wife 'his luck'), Dad spends his last weeks thinking over his life, particularly an incident that ended badly with a clerk in his store, and his relationship with his estranged son. As his wife and daughter care for him, life goes on: one of the Lewises' neighbors takes in her young granddaughter; an elderly woman and her middle-aged daughter visit with the Lewises, with each other, and with the new minister, whose wife and son are unhappy about his transfer to Holt from Denver. Haruf isn't interested in the trendy or urban; as he once said, he writes about 'regular, ordinary, sort of elemental' characters, who speak simply and often don't speak much at all. 'Regular and ordinary' can equate with dull. However, though this is a quiet book, it's not a boring one. Dad and his family and neighbors try, in small, believable ways, to make peace with those they live among, to understand a world that isn't the one in which they came of age. Separately and together, all the characters are trying to live — and in Dad's case, to die — with dignity, a struggle Haruf (Eventide) renders with delicacy and skill. Agent: Nancy Stauffer Cahoon, Nancy Stauffer Associates." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , “Reverberant....From the terroir and populace of his native American West, the author of Plainsong and Eventide again draws a story elegant in its simple telling and remarkable in its authentic capture of universal human emotions.”
"Review" by , "His finest-tuned tale yet....There is a deep, satisfying music to this book, as Haruf weaves between such a large cast of characters in so small a space....Strangely, wonderfully, the moment of a man's passing can be a blessing in the way it brings people together. Benediction recreates this powerful moment so gracefully it is easy to forget that, like [the town of] Holt, it is a world created by one man."
"Review" by , "A quiet and profound statement about endings, about change and death and endurance, and about the courage it takes to finally let go....What's remarkable is Haruf's ability, once again, to square quotidian events with what it means to be alive and bound in ordinary pleasure with ordinary people [with] a matter-of-fact tone, with spare declarative sentences and plain-speak among the characters that is, in its bare-bones clarity, often heartbreakingly authentic."
"Review" by , "What Haruf makes of this patch of ground is magic [and] Benediction spreads its blessing over the entire town. Haruf isn't interested in evil so much as the frailties that defeat us — loneliness, a failure to connect with one another, the lack of courage to change....[He] makes us admire his characters' ability not only to carry on but also to enjoy simple pleasures."
"Review" by , "We've waited a long time for an invitation back to Holt, home to Kent Haruf's novels....He may be the most muted master in American fiction [and] Benediction seems designed to catch the sound of those fleeting good moments [with] scenes Hemingway might have written had he survived."
"Synopsis" by , From the beloved and best-selling author comes a story of life and death, family and community, once again set out on the high plains in Holt, Colorado.

When Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and his wife must work together, along with their daughter, to make his final days as comfortable as possible, despite the bitter absence of their estranged son. Next door, a young girl moves in with her grandmother and contends with the memories that Dad's condition stirs up of her own mother's death. A newly arrived preacher attempts to mend his strained relationships with his wife and son, and soon faces the disdain of his congregation when he offers more than they are used to getting on Sunday mornings. And throughout, an elderly widow and her middle-aged daughter do all they can to ease the pain of their friends and neighbors. Here Haruf gives us his most indelible portrait yet of this small town, one that highlights the compassion, the suffering, and, above all, the humanity of its inhabitants.

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