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Benediction Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 26, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
Kent Haruf is a masterful writer and story teller. Any one of his characters in this book could be the basis for his next book -- I can hardly wait to find out which one he will choose for his next Holt novel, as you want to know more about each of his characters: Not a single one is boring or two dimensional. As someone who grew up in eastern Nebraska, and traveled quite a bit in the area he describes (I have a number of cousins in western Nebraska), I thought he got the character of the people right -- slow to change but willing to change if convinced that the change is needed; kind but taciturn; a sense of community but ruggedly independent; generally fair and principled, but sometimes behaving badly.
My only complaint (other than the fact that my review copy was missing 9 pages!) is that Haruf has adopted the contemporary fad of not using quotation marks.Read more ›
Haruf has taken ordinary narrative threads of ordinary people and woven an extraordinary tapestry of real life with them. He has transformed situations common in day-to-day experience into those richly uncommon, providing a sense of transparency and truth, enabling us to examine the life of his imagined characters in the small town of Holt, Colorado as clearly as we can examine our own.
The story is centered on Dad Lewis, an old man at the end of his long, productive life, dying at home from an aggressive cancer and surrounded by his beloved wife of more than half a century-Mary, his devoted daughter Lorraine, his closest friends, neighbors, employees, a young child named Alice, the preacher from his church-the Reverend Lyle, and the dedicated hospice nurse.
While we read this story of how a simple man, his family and his community prepare for his death we feel as if we are engaging company with each of these people. Having recently experienced the end of my stepfather's life in hospice, Dad Lewis's story from the time of his diagnosis of terminal cancer until his passing is tremendously resonant with me - so much so that even now as I write this review I weep.
Haruf's precise eye for elemental description of his setting on the high plains of Colorado is a remarkable conveyance of sense of place.Read more ›
"Dad" Lewis is the central character. He only has a few weeks left to live. Knowing this makes him treasure events and places that once seemed ordinary and unspecial. As his life draws to a close, he allows himself to revert to a childlike authenticity. He finally tells people what he really thinks of them, and he gives in to emotions we learn to suppress and deny as we grow into adulthood. He lets himself weep as he contemplates the loss of life's most basic contentments -- the rhythms of our days that seem commonplace, but become dear as the end approaches.
This is not a novel you read for plot. There's not much action or conflict or conquest. I enjoyed it for the simple genius of the writing and the author's ability to excavate the human heart and mind. The approach is somewhat similar to Sherwood Anderson's WINESBURG, OHIO, although Haruf's prose is more restrained and pleasurable to read. Both books examine the secret longings and regrets of small-town folk, and the narrowing of opportunities imposed by small-town attitudes.
I recommend BENEDICTION for readers seeking the most realistic fiction you're likely to find. Kent Haruf is peerless in his ability to observe the poignancy and pathos of human experience and commit it to paper in its barest essence.
NOTE: Kent Haruf does not use quotation marks in his dialogue. Usually this is something that would bother me quite a bit. However, Haruf's style is so clean and simple that it wasn't a problem for me with this particular book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
PERFECTION!!!!!! This was a lovely ending to the series, Plainsong I love the memories it invokes and the peaceful feeling in each word.Published 1 day ago by Nan
Kent Haruf was family of a friend. Not close but I met him once and outwardly seemed an ordinary soft spoken man. Read morePublished 4 days ago by BH
Kent Haruf has ways of engrossing people in his books that are fresh and unique, I am sad that I have now read about everything he wrote. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Mary Frances Bowers
Read for book club. Not fast reading. Very true emotional feelings. As former Hospice Nurse. Kent must have been there .Published 8 days ago by Kmhooker
Another good book from author Haruf. The third in the series nod it is enjoyable.Published 8 days ago by JA
This series is solidly kind and thoughtful, just as most of the good people of Holt live. Although ugliness does raise its head, we see how good always prevails. Read morePublished 14 days ago by discerning/fussy life appreciator
This is the third volume in the author’s Plainsong Trilogy (see my reviews of the first two volumes, Plainsong and Eventide). Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ralph Blumenau