Monday, July 5, 2010

Plainsong by Kent Haruf (1999)

A little gem I found by accident...I was looking to see if my library had English translations of Haruki Marukami and thought they might have shelved them under HAR. No such luck but a couple of novels by Kent Haruf caught my eye and a when I saw he was a writer and professor at Southern Illinois University I was intrigued, so I took "Plainsong" home with me.

A delicately written realism...plain people struggling with difficult times in their lives...described with respect and a generous heart... I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was sorry when I finished it.

The author describes the lives of a few people in a small Colorado town - a young high school girl who discovers she is pregnant, a father and his two young sons struggling to come to grips with the fact that their wife and mother abandoned them, the high school teacher who helps her pregnant student in more ways than one and at the same time cares for her father with Alzheimers, and finally the two elderly bachelor farmers who take the risk of stepping out of their years of isolation and against better judgement, become involved in the lives of strangers. Little by little, the lives of these characters become intertwined and at the same time, the author gives us, through them, a portrait of the whole town, both good and bad. A book that had me truly caring for the characters by the end. I highly recommend it.

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