Haruf, Kent

(Book - 1999)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
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, alone herself, 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. As the milieu widens to embrace fully four generations, Kent Haruf displays an emotional and aesthetic authority to rival the past masters of a classic American tradition. Utterly true to the rhythms and patterns of life, Plainsong is a novel to care about, believe in, and learn from.
Publisher: New York : A.A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, c1999
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0375406182
Branch Call Number: FICTION HARUF
Characteristics: 301 p. ;,25 cm


From Library Staff

Two bachelor ranchers take on the responsibility of taking care of a pregnant teenage girl not knowing what to expect- but wanting to do it exactly right

Two bachelor ranchers take on the responsibility of taking care of a pregnant teenage girl not knowing what to expect- but wanting to do it exactly right.

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Dec 06, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A gentle and touching story of how some extraordinary prairie folk in the small community of Holt, Colorado, come together in a time of difficulty and sadness to make an extended family. The most memorable set of characters in the last year’s reading.

Very beautifully written. An absolute masterpiece. Dont even worry about the story, savour the atmosphere.

Mar 17, 2013
  • DeltaQueen50 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

In Plainsong, Kent Haruf weaves his story around struggling characters who learn to reach out and help one another. The story never crosses the line into becoming too emotional or overdone, the author’s writing is candid, under embellished and quite beautiful. I found Plainsong to be an uplifting experience, a simple, straight forward story that speaks to the heart.

This book was a bit of a give and take. The plot was intriguing enough to keep reading but the author's simplistic word style I wasn't in favor of. It was too monotonous and boring for me -- yes, people think that's what make Haruf's stories so emotional, etc., etc. In my opinion, it was just very slow and far too open-ended to enjoy.

Oct 17, 2011
  • jquickmsw rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I'm baffled by those reader/reviewers who didn't like this book, but am reminded of what a wonderful UW English prof said when a student complained that "Shakespeare was boring": "There are boring writers; Shakespeare is not one of them. There are also boring readers. Enough said."

This is a terrific book. I own a copy, and everyone I've lent it to has loved it. The audio version is wonderful, too. Give it a try. It'll make you laugh, cry and think.

Oct 02, 2011
  • maple126 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Absolutely loved this book. The characters come alive on the pages - I kept thinking of how they would be cast if they ever make a movie.

Apr 11, 2011
  • Eil_1 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Wasn't sure about this but couldn't put it down.

Dec 09, 2010
  • damation rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Very disappointing book.
A series of vignettes that never follow up and the connections between characters are not believable.
For instance the father of two young boys gets into a fight with a family because their son scared and abused the children but then the thread ends and the author just drops the whole issue.
It is a book that has some good parts but there is a lot of detail around cruel and abusive scenes but not real character development and is a frustrating read

Sep 08, 2010
  • penjunkie rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Don't believe the jacket. It is vague and implies much but the book does not deliver. I found it very dull. "Plain", as its title.

Jun 07, 2010
  • GailRoger rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This isn't a mystery novel, it's a sketch of a certain place in a certain time. The place is Colorado. The time? Well, for me, that was part of the fun. In the opening chapters, we met young boys with paper routes, a young girl in a short skirt, teachers labouring over "dittos" in a staffroom where there's smoking and casual male chavinism. Sixties, I thought.

Later in the novel, there was a mention of Nancy Reagan so I had to adjust the period. Late seventies, perhaps? She was California's "First Lady" in the sixties, but I don't think she started entering the national vocabulary of the United States until her husband entered the presidential campaign.

Finally, there's a reference to a soap being taped for home viewing, so definitely eighties, although the overall mood of the book feels like a longer ago, more innocent time.

This is a quick read, plenty of dry humour in a compelling story. Just the thing for a plane trip, I should think.


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app08 Version gurli Last updated 2014/12/09 10:52