Kent Haruf, author of Plainsong
, one of the most beloved novels in recent years, has wisely continued the franchise in Eventide
, another foray into the prairie town of Holt, Colorado. We meet some of the same people--the McPheron brothers, Tom Guthrie and Maggie Jones, Victoria and her daughter Katie, and are introduced to new ones. Once again, the quirky bachelors Harold and Raymond McPheron, short on conversation and long on heart, form the sweet center of the book. The constants here are the brothers, the landscape--by turns hostile, demanding and renewing--and a few of the locals, whom we meet in varying degrees of their travails and redemption.
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 theyd 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
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Narrator Hearn, who won a Tony award for his performance in the Broadway musical Sunset Boulevard
, proves to be a perfect complement to Haruf's earthy, austerely elegant prose in this atmospheric sequel to Hearn's novel Plainsong
(1999). Many of the characters from that book return, with the brothers Harold and Raymond MacPheron once again serving as the focal point. Haruf concentrates on the complexities of what seems to be a simple Colorado community. New characters include a mentally challenged couple struggling to raise their two children, and an 11-year-old orphan boy charged with caring for his aging grandfather. The text is restrained, as is Hearn's performance. His relaxed, throaty voice and even pace fit comfortably with a book that boasts its fair share of sayings like, "Yes, ma'am," and in which a present participle ending in "g" is rarer than a discouraging word. He makes only the slightest alterations for different characters, yet they all ring true. Whether describing the events of a tragic death or a couple's thorough contemplation of the likelihood that pouring raisins on plain cereal would be the same thing as Raisin Bran itself, Hearn's voice possesses an ease and casual quaintness to rival Garrison Keillor, and it precisely conveys this book's enchanting spell.
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