• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    Matthew on [825] Paradise Lost -John…
    Anokatony on [825] Paradise Lost -John…
    Matthew on The King’s English Books…
    Katie Marie on The King’s English Books…
    lazyhaze on Reading Kafka’s “T…
    Buried In Print on Reading Kafka’s “T…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 991,465 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,663 other followers

Back-to-back Haruf

Every once in a while comes a novel that is so remarkable in its quality that it stands out not only as an example of what literature (well-written fiction) should be, but also as a satisfying reading experience all by itself. Stoner is one, Crossing to Safety is another. Kent Haruf is the latest to join the league of John Williams and Wallace Stegner in my book. As soon as I turned the last page of Plainsong (more like finishing the review of the book), I got my hands on Haruf’s debut novel, The Tie That Binds. Haruf’s style is quiet and contemplative, his prose spare but the language is deep. Haruf steers clear of sentimentality and melodrama while constructing a taut narrative in which the revelations of characters and their rising emotional tensions are held at perfect balance. In The Tie That Binds, the story is told in first person narrative. The neighbor unfolds the story of a woman who sacrifices her happiness in the name of her family.

Well, no, not nothing exactly. She didn’t just do nothing all that time. But she sure God didn’t go traveling off across the North American continent, either. She didn’t even go those seven miles into Holt very often. She stayed home. Jesus, that’s about all you can say: Edith Goodnough stayed home. And if you figure it up, if you do your arithmetic from those chiseled dates in the cemetery, then you know Edith was seventeen when her mother died in 1914; she was fifty-five when the old man died in 1952; and she was sixty-four when Lyman finally returned in 1961. It amounts to a lifetime of staying home. (Ch. 6, p.111)

Like Stegner, Haruf explores the lives of people who work the land in the stark America Middle West. He captures people and their lives, with a sense of dignity and tenacity of spirits. How can I not love Haruf?

2 Responses

  1. Oh God, one post of yours, and here you go, 3 more titles added to my TBR. Now, why not 4? Simply because I had already added Plainsong last time you mentioned it. sigh… But thanks anyway for your great reviews!

  2. Love Haruf – his work is so tied to the landscape it takes place in. Where you once belonged is also good although Plainsong is my favorite. I haven’t read Eventide which is the sequel to Plainsong yet but it is on my list. I also heard a rumor that he has another book in the works.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: