STARRED REVIEW
June 2015

A bond beyond the waking hours

By Kent Haruf
When an author begins a novel with “And then there was the day”—as Kent Haruf begins Our Souls at Night, a brief, final testament completed shortly before his death last November—you know he knows we know what he’s talking about. This is Holt, Colorado.
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When an author begins a novel with “And then there was the day”—as Kent Haruf begins Our Souls at Night, a brief, final testament completed shortly before his death last November—you know he knows we know what he’s talking about. This is Holt, Colorado. 

Over three decades, Haruf has given us six novels counting up all of Holt’s days, beginning with The Tie That Binds in 1984. That title is a principle that covers a lot of ground, straight through to this last one, which brings us to the day “when Addie Moore made a call on Louis Waters.” Addie and Louis are old neighbors, both widowed, children grown and gone, both lonely but used to it. Addie asks Louis if he’d like to sleep with her. Just sleep, that’s all, to keep her company, and maybe talk about things, too. Louis agrees. It becomes an amazing tie, full of unexpected grace, a chance to go back with each other over their ordinary and extraordinary lives. Their pact binds others to them as well—an ancient neighbor, the troubled grandson of a broken home and a sweet dog from the county pound. 

Townsfolk and family members don’t much like the idea of Addie and Louis sleeping together. This happiness, arrived so late, is a scandal to those others. Haruf is our finest observer of the conflict between duty and love, making goodness almost impossible. It’s the little space inside the “almost” that counts the most, though. We are blessed to have such an excellent final book from this great writer. 

 

This article was originally published in the June 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Our Souls at Night

Our Souls at Night

By Kent Haruf
Knopf
ISBN 9781101875896

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