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Plainsongby Kent Haruf
Synopses & Reviews
A heartstrong story of family and romance, tribulation and tenacity, set on the High Plains east of Denver.
In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl — her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house — is pregnant, alone herself, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they've ever known.
From these unsettled lives emerges a vision of life, and of the town and landscape that bind them together — their fates somehow overcoming the powerful circumstances of place and station, their confusion, curiosity, dignity and humor intact and resonant. As the milieu widens to embrace fully four generations, Kent Haruf displays an emotional and aesthetic authority to rival the past masters of a classic American tradition.
Utterly true to the rhythms and patterns of life, Plainsong is a novel to care about, believe in, and learn from.
"Haruf's unforgettable tale is both emotionally complex and elemental, following, as it so gracefully does, the cycle of life, death, and rebirth." Booklist
"Plainsong is nothing short of a revelation." Richard Russo
"Haruf has made a novel so foursquare, so delicate and lovely, that it has the power to exalt the reader...At times, a sentence almost suggests Flannery O'Connor...But the prose and the outlook are always Haruf's own." Verlyn Klinkenborg, New York Times Book Review
"In the same way that the plains define the American landscape, small-town life in the heartlands is a quintessentially American experience. Holt, Colo., a tiny prairie community near Denver, is both the setting for and the psychological matrix of Haruf's beautifully executed new novel....Haruf's (The Tie That Binds) descriptions of rural existence are a richly nuanced mixture of stark details and poetic evocations of the natural world. Weather and landscape are integral to tone and mood, serving as backdrop to every scene. His plain, Hemingwayesque prose takes flight in lyrical descriptions of sunsets and birdsong, and condenses to the matter-of-fact in describing the routines of animal husbandry....This is a compelling story of grief, bereavement, loneliness and anger, but also of kindness, benevolence, love and the making of a strange new family. In depicting the stalwart courage of decent, troubled people going on with their lives, Haruf's quietly eloquent account illumines the possibilities of grace." Publishers Weekly
In a small town in Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising two boys alone after their mother retreats from the world. A teenage girl faces her pregnancy alone. Two elderly bachelors farm as they always have. Their unsettled lives are bound together in this novel of family and romance, tribulation and tenacity. Abridged.
From the unsettled lives of three people emerges a vision of life, and of the town and landscape that bind them together. Utterly true to the rhythms and patterns of life, Plainsong is a heartfelt story of family and romance, tribulation, and tenacity. "A novel so foursquare, so delicate and lovely, that it has the power to exalt the reader." — Verlyn Klinkenborg, the New York Times Book Review
From the unsettled lives of a small-town teacher struggling to raise two boys alone in the face of their mother's retreat from life, a pregnant teenage girl with nowhere to go, and two elderly bachelor farmers emerges a new vision of life and family as their diverse destinies intertwine. 200,000 first printing.
Ambitious, but never seeming so, Kent Haruf reveals a whole community as he interweaves the stories of a pregnant high school girl, a lonely teacher, a pair of boys abandoned by their mother, and acouple of crusty bachelor farmers. From simple elements, Haruf achieves a novel of wisdom and grace--a narrative that builds in strength and feeling until, as in a choral chant, the voices in the book surround, transport, and lift the reader off the ground.
-FROM THE CITATION FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Kent Haruf lives with his wife, Cathy, in Illinois and Colorado.
From the eBook edition.
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