After having posted what, in retrospect was probably an undeservedly harsh rating of Plainsong, I resolved to redeem myself with this sequel. Haruf's writing style is so engaging and earth-bound, his characters so real and appealing that it's impossible not to be enchanted. That despite the fact that by and large his stories are usually sad and things don't necessarily turn out well for the people you've grown to like.
There's no single story arc here and at the end, not very much gets resolved; life just goes on. The delightful McPheron brothers are here again, along with Victoria and little Katie; and occasional appearances by Maggie and also Tom Guthrie from the previous book. A number of new characters are introduced; some of their stories intersect, others do not. I found it intriguing that Haruf liked to produce characters in pairs (Luther and Betty June; Guthrie and Maggie; Harold and Raymond; DJ and his grandfather; even the children appear in pairs: Ike and Bobby, Richie and Joy Rae; Dena and Emma). I've yet to figure out Haruf's intent in this pairing.
Perhaps one of the features that makes the book so engaging and realistic and at the same time so heartbreaking is how hard the children's lives are: DJ's lonely life caring for his grandfather; Dena and Emma's parental problems and most pathetically the Wallace kids, abused, poverty-plagued social outcasts.
It's because of all those misfortunes that I found old Raymond's moments of love so welcome, so precious. We cannot help cheering for him.
After this book and after Our Souls at Night, it's so regrettable that Haruf is no longer with us.
As good as Plainsong. I didn't read Haruf's books in chronological order but picked up the previous events fast thanks to the masterful chaining of events without the feel of competitiveness.
Sequel to Plainsong continuing the story of country life and small town hardships with writing that absolutely delights. In an understated way Haruf pulls the very essence out of things and describes people, places, moments, atmosphere in a way that pulls you utterly into the place. Can't wait to read more!
This author turns ignorant small town folks into humans we can understand. If this was the first book by Haruf I had read I wouldn't have continued reading after the first chapter, as the subject matter seemed small and boring, although the writing was good. It got more interesting as the story unfolded. Having read about Victoria in an earlier book, it was interesting to see what happened there. After the tragic accident it was surprising how Raymond's life changed. For urban readers: this is a one view of small town and country life.
This was a perfect continuation of Plainsong. I really enjoyed it.
I enjoyed this sequel to Plainsong very much. Mr. Haruf's writing is plain, simple and not too word-y. The plot moves along at a good pace to a comfortable/satisfactory conclusion. The characters are well developed and will remain in my memory for some time.
This is the follow-up to Plainsong, both of which are absolutely enthralling reads. I loved each book so much that I'll have to go buy a copy of each. Mr. Haruf had a simple, but very powerful, way of writing his stories. He doesn't preach, doesn't hit you over the head with morals or opinions, but treats all his characters, good bad and indifferent, with respect and compassion. His was a rare talent.
There is an elegant simplicity and beauty in the writing of Kent Haruf. When his characters are happy, the reader rejoices; when they face misfortune, the reader shares their sadness. Few writers can evoke that response in this reader. Eventide is a worthy successor to the award-winning Plainsong. If you have not done so, read Plainsong first. Then you won't need any urging to read Eventide!
I'd seen Kent Haruf's books on the NY Times bestseller list over the decades so when I saw a copy of his most recent book, Benediction, on the library shelf I decided to give it a try.
After finishing it, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Plainsong and Eventide!
This trilogy of his is moving, haunting, and hopeful. It is a testament to the human spirit and all that is good in "ordinary people" living "ordinary lives".
Haruf's setting of Holt, Colorado, and the interplay among his characters reminds me a little of Wendell Berry's novels set in the town of Port William Kentucky, which I also love.
This book is a wonderful read. So sad at times I wanted to reach out and give a helping hand. And then there is joy and heart filling moments. I will indeed be reading Plainsong!
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