A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year
From the beloved and best-selling author of Plainsong and Eventide comes a story of life and death, and the ties that bind, once again set out on the High Plains in Holt, Colorado.
When Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and his wife, Mary, must work together to make his final days as comfortable as possible. Their daughter, Lorraine, hastens back from Denver to help look after him; her devotion softens the bitter absence of their estranged son, Frank, but this cannot be willed away and remains a palpable presence for all three of them. Next door, a young girl named Alice moves in with her grandmother and contends with the painful memories that Dad's condition stirs up of her own mother's death. Meanwhile, the town’s newly arrived preacher attempts to mend his strained relationships with his wife and teenaged son, a task that proves all the more challenging when he faces the disdain of his congregation after offering more than they are accustomed to getting on a Sunday morning. And throughout, an elderly widow and her middle-aged daughter do everything they can to ease the pain of their friends and neighbors.
Despite the travails that each of these families faces, together they form bonds strong enough to carry them through the most difficult of times. Bracing, sad and deeply illuminating, Benediction captures the fullness of life by representing every stage of it, including its extinction, as well as the hopes and dreams that sustain us along the way. Here Kent Haruf gives us his most indelible portrait yet of this small town and reveals, with grace and insight, the compassion, the suffering and, above all, the humanity of its inhabitants.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2013
: Kent Haruf writes about small towns and regular people, but don’t underestimate his ambition. He is writing about life
, and to do that he has returned again and again--first with Plainsong
, later with Eventide--
to the small town of Holt, located on the eastern plains of Colorado. In Benediction
, Haruf introduces us to Dad Lewis, a 77-year-old hardware store owner who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The experience of reading Haruf is a slow burn, but as we meet the people who gather around Dad Lewis in his final days we begin to see that this is a book about community, about the things that bind us, as well as the secrets we keep to ourselves. Haruf writes with a tense, quiet realism that elevates life and death, granting both a dignity that touches on poetry. --Chris Schluep