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
Kent Haruf's book Our Souls at Night had a tremendous impact on my life. Inspired by the idea of an older couple having a romance, so deftly portrayed in the book, I asked an old friend of mine to be my sweetheart. A year later, the first chapter of Our Souls at Night was read at our wedding. Haruf's five other novels, all set in a small town in eastern Colorado, are equally captivating, but Our Souls at Night holds a special place in my heart. Recommended By Peter N., 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.
"Poso Wells is ironic, audacious, and fierce. But what is it, exactly? A satire? A scifi novel? A political detective yarn? Or the purest reality of contemporary Latin America. It's unclassifiable — as all great books are." Samanta Schweblin, author of Fever Dream
"Poso Wells is brilliant, audacious, doubtlessly playful and at the same time so dark and bitter. A truly unforgettable book." Alejandro Zambra, author of Multiple Choice
"The story is a condemnation not only of the corrupt businessmen and the criminal gangs that rule Poso Wells but also of the violence against women that plagues Latin America's real slums." The New Yorker
"One part Thomas Pynchon, one part Gabriel García Marquez, and one part Raymond Chandler, Alemán's novel contains mystery, horror, humor, absurdity, and political commentary....A concoction of political thriller and absurdist literary mystery that never fails to entertain." Kirkus Reviews
"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
In the squalid settlement of Poso Wells, women have been regularly disappearing, but the authorities have shown little interest. When the leading presidential candidate comes to town, he and his entourage are electrocuted in a macabre accident witnessed by a throng of astonished spectators. The sole survivor — next in line for the presidency — inexplicably disappears from sight.
Gustavo Varas, a principled journalist, picks up the trail, which leads him into a violent, lawless underworld. Bella Altamirano, a fearless local, is on her own crusade to pierce the settlement's code of silence, ignoring repeated death threats. It turns out that the disappearance of the candidate and those of the women are intimately connected, and not just to a local crime wave, but to a multinational magnate's plan to plunder the country's cloud forest preserve.
About the Author
Gabriela Alemán, based in Quito, Ecuador, has played professional basketball in Switzerland and Paraguay and has worked as a waitress, administrator, translator, radio scriptwriter, and film studies professor. She received a PhD at Tulane University and holds a Master's degree in Latin American Literature from Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar. Her literary honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006; member of Bogotá 39, a 2007 selection of the most important up-and-coming writers in Latin America in the post-Boom generation; one of five finalists for the 2015 Premio Hispanoamericano de Cuento Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia) for her story collection La muerte silba un blues; and winner of several prizes for critical essays on literature and film. Her other books include the short story collections, Maldito corazón, Zoom, Fuga permanente, and Álbum de familia; her novels in Spanish include Body Time, Poso Wells, and Humo. Her stories have appeared in anthologies in French, English, Chinese, Hebrew, and Serbo-Croatian. This is her first full-length work to appear in English.