Elderly and widowed, small-town residents Louis and Addie begin a timid, slow affair in order to stave off their solitude. They've both reached the point in their lives when gossip and rumor pale in comparison to the almost desperate need of filling in this aching hole of loneliness. However, as their love cautiously blooms, they begin to feel pressure from outside sources, particularly Addie's son. Just at the point when they realize their relationship is vital to their happiness, it becomes clear that there may be consequences and casualties — things they are not at all ready to face.
Told in quiet, calm prose, Haruf's posthumous novel is a small but powerful study on human connection, companionship, and love. Just lovely. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
In his final novel, Haruf once again casts an aura of spiritual resonance over the small town of Holt, Colorado. When an elderly woman proposes to her equally old male neighbor that they spend their nights together in conversation, chastely, yet sharing her bed in slumber, the talk among townsfolk begins to stir. Neither Addie Moore nor Louis Waters will allow slurred observations to impact what, for them, has become a blessing encompassing memories and the comfort of having the warmth of another body close on cold and lonely nights. Matters take a dramatic turn, however, with the arrival of Addie's grandson, Jamie. His presence in the ongoing arrangement brings the inevitable question of moral behavior to the surface. As in a minister's benediction, Haruf extends a wise and compassionate resolution to this story, the quintessence of his life's work. Recommended By Mark I., Powells.com
When I finished Our Souls at Night, I wanted to recommend it to everyone — friends, coworkers, unsuspecting bystanders. How Haruf managed to fit such a marvelous love story into such a tiny package is baffling, but he did so masterfully, and if you'll set aside just a few hours to read it, I have no doubt you'll love it, too. Recommended By Tove H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet
inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together
to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the
In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado,
home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an
unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years
ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known
of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s
wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even
farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been
living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly
lonely, especially with no one to talk with.
Their brave adventures — their pleasures and their difficulties — are hugely involving and truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.
“Utterly charming [and] distilled to elemental purity...such a
tender, carefully polished work that it seems like a blessing we had no
right to expect.” Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“His great subject was the struggle of decency against small-mindedness,
and his rare gift was to make sheer decency a moving subject...[This] novel runs on the dogged insistence that simple elements carry
depths, and readers will find much to be grateful for.” Joan Silber, The New York Times Book Review
“Elegiac, mournful and compassionate...a triumphant end to an
inspiring literary career [and] a reminder of a loss on the American
cultural landscape, as well as a parting gift from a master
storyteller.” William J. Cobb, The Dallas Morning News
“A delicate, sneakily devastating evocation of place and character...Haruf’s story accumulates resonance through carefully chosen details;
the novel is quiet but never complacent.” The New Yorker
“Lateness — and second chances — have always been a theme for Haruf. But
here, in a book about love and the aftermath of grief, in his final
hours, he has produced his most intense expression of that yet.... Packed into less than 200 pages are all the issues late life
provokes.” John Freeman, The Boston Globe
About the Author
Kent Haruf is the author of five previous novels (and, with the photographer Peter Brown, West of Last Chance).
His 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 was also a finalist for
the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the New
Yorker Book Award. He died in November 2014, at the age of seventy-one.