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
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
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
Synopses & Reviews
A Best Book of the Year
The Boston Globe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Denver Post
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, her son even farther, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in empty houses, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. But maybe that could change? As Addie and Louis come to know each other better–their pleasures and their difficulties–a beautiful story of second chances unfolds, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.
"In a fitting and gorgeous end to a body of work that prizes resilience above all else, Haruf has bequeathed readers a map charting a future that is neither easy nor painless, but it’s also not something we have to bear alone." Esquire
"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
"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
"More Winesburg that Mayberry, Holt and its residents are shaped by physical solitude and emotional reticence....Haruf’s fiction ratifies ordinary, nonflashy decency, but he also knows that even the most placid lives are more complicated than they appear from the outside....The novel is a plainspoken, vernacular farewell." Catherine Holmes, The Charleston Post and Courier
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.