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"With Plainsong, [Kent Haruf] has conjured up an entire community, and ineluctably immersed the reader in its dramas. He has written a compelling and compassionate novel." - Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Haruf's unforgettable tale is both emotionally complex and elemental, following, as it so gracefully does, the cycle of life, death, and rebirth." -BooklistNominated for the National Book Award, Kent Haruf's Plainsong, Unabridged on audio
A heartstrong story of family and romance, tribulation and tenacity, set on the High Plains east of Denver.
In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl - her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house - is pregnant with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they've ever known.
From these unsettled lives emerges a vision of life, and of the town and landscape that bind them together - their fates somehow overcoming the powerful circumstances of place and station, their confusion, curiosity, dignity and humor intact and resonant.
Utterly true to the rhythms and patterns of life, Plainsong is a story to care about, believe in and learn from.
"Plainsong is nothing short of a revelation." - Richard Russo
Holt, Colorado, is the kind of small town where everyone knows everyone's business before that business even happens. In a way, that's true of the book, too. There's not a lot of suspense here, plotwise; you can see each narrative twist and turn coming several miles down the pike. What Plainsong has instead is note-perfect dialogue, surrounded by prose that's straightforward yet rich in particulars: "a woman walking a white lapdog on a piece of ribbon," glimpsed from a car window; the boys' mother, her face "as pale as schoolhouse chalk"; the smells of hay and manure, the variations of prairie light. Even the novel's larger questions are sized to a domestic scale. Will Guthrie find love? Will Victoria run away with the father of her baby? Will the McPherons learn to hold a conversation? But in this case, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and Plainsong manages to capture nothing less than an entire world--fencing pliers, calf-pullers, and all. Kent Haruf has a gorgeous ear, and a knack for rendering the simple complex. --Mary Park