Kent Haruf is one of my all-time favourite authors. Plainsong, Eventide, and Benediction are all spare yet quietly gripping. The power of ordinary lives speaks volumes. There’s nothing extra, nothing unnecessary in his writing–it is a beautiful simplicity that sings. A slim novel, Our Souls at Night, is Haruf’s last. He finished it literally just months before he died. Indeed it feels like a coda, a postscript, a last conversation late at night before dropping off to sleep.
Louis and Addie live down the street from each other. They were never close when they had spouses and families, but they knew of each other. But now alone, with their children gone and the nights feeling so lonely, they embark on a brave endeavour that brings both pleasure and difficulty to their lives. A moving story about love and growing old with grace and how the elderly can often be misunderstood and their needs dismissed by the younger generation.
This book is one of Chapters Indigo’s ‘Heather’s Picks‘ which is a list that I pay attention to because they are often my favourites too. Heather Reisman’s synopsis of Kent Haruf so perfectly captures everything I love about this author’s writing, that I will quote her here and leave nothing more to add:
“We sometimes need to be reminded that a little hope is a seed that can grow in unexpected, powerful ways, that shared stories are what make us human, and that it’s never too late to start a new chapter – a new adventure – no matter where we are in our lives. Our Souls at Night is the last novel from the late Kent Haruf – a beautiful, aching reminder of these essential truths, and a poignant end to a literary life spent exploring private heartaches and small tragedies in the fictional town of Holt Colorado. I’ve rarely read a book that can be heartbreaking and hopeful in the same moment, but that is the genius of Kent Haruf.”