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Plainsong

Haruf, Kent (Book - 2000)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Plainsong
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Ambitious, but never seeming so, Kent Haruf reveals a whole community as he interweaves the stories of a pregnant high school girl, a lonely teacher, a pair of boys abandoned by their mother, and a couple of crusty bachelor farmers. From simple elements, Haruf achieves a novel of wisdom and grace--a narrative that builds in strength and feeling until, as in a choral chant, the voices in the book surround, transport, and lift the reader off the ground. -- Publisher description.
Authors: Haruf, Kent
Title: Plainsong
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2000, c1999
Edition: 1st Vintage Contemporaries ed
Characteristics: 301 p. ;,21 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Kent Haruf
Summary: Ambitious, but never seeming so, Kent Haruf reveals a whole community as he interweaves the stories of a pregnant high school girl, a lonely teacher, a pair of boys abandoned by their mother, and a couple of crusty bachelor farmers. From simple elements, Haruf achieves a novel of wisdom and grace--a narrative that builds in strength and feeling until, as in a choral chant, the voices in the book surround, transport, and lift the reader off the ground. -- Publisher description.
ISBN: 0375705856
9780375705854
Branch Call Number: FICTION HARUF 2000
Subject Headings: High school teachers Colorado Fiction Single fathers Colorado Fiction Fathers and sons Colorado Fiction Farmers Colorado Fiction Teenage pregnancy Colorado Fiction Farm life Colorado Fiction Colorado Fiction
Genre/Form: Domestic fiction
Topical Term: High school teachers
Single fathers
Fathers and sons
Farmers
Teenage pregnancy
Farm life
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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.

An unlikely extended family is formed when a high school teacher helps a pregnant student make a home with two elderly bachelor ranchers.

In an eastern Colorado town, a teacher gets several damaged families to interact and care for one another.

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 is pregnant and alone, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the f... Read More »


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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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app11 Version Arkelstorp Last updated 2014/10/23 09:41