Victoria, the young pregnant woman the brothers took in in Plainsong, has gone off to college at Fort Collins, leaving the brothers standing at the kitchen counter, "drinking coffee and talking about how Victoria Roubideaux was doing a hundred and twenty-five miles away from home ... while they themselves were living as usual in the country in Holt County ... with so much less to account for now that she was gone, and a wind rising up and starting to whine outside the house." Much as Seinfeld was called the TV show about nothing, Haruf's books are so low-key and straightforward that a careless reader might miss the fact that they are about everything that life has to offer: love, sorrow, malice, understanding, and the connections that make and keep us human, to name a few.
DJ is an 11-year-old living alone with his grandfather, when he befriends two young girls whose father left for Alaska and decided not to return. Their mother is mired in grief and the three children, abandoned by the adults in their lives, find refuge in an old shed they make habitable. "So for a while the two sisters and the boy lay on the floor under the blankets, reading books in the dim candlelight, with the sun falling down outside in the alley, the three of them talking a little softly, drinking coffee from a thermos, and what was happening in the houses they’d come from, seemed, for that short time, of little importance." One of Haruf's particular gifts is in showing us people who give and take solace wherever it may be found.
An unfortunate disabled couple, parents of two young children, are trying to make their way in a world they cannot fathom. They are assisted by Rose Tyler, their caseworker, who is a friend of Maggie Jones. aggie, who drew Tom Guthrie out of his depression in Plainsong, is once again a catalyst for change when she introduces Rose to Raymond. There is no doubt more to come, as life in Holt, Colorado, continues to evolve and Kent Haruf keeps us informed. --Valerie Ryan