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The Tie That Binds (Vintage Contemporaries) [Kindle Edition]

Kent Haruf
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $11.75
You Save: $3.20 (21%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Colorado, January 1977. Eighty-year-old Edith Goodnough lies in a hospital bed, IV taped to the back of her hand, police officer at her door. She is charged with murder. The clues: a sack of chicken feed slit with a knife, a milky-eyed dog tied outdoors one cold afternoon. The motives: the brutal business of farming and a family code of ethics as unforgiving as the winter prairie itself.

In his critically acclaimed first novel, Kent Haruf delivers the sweeping tale of a woman of the American High Plains, as told by her neighbor, Sanders Roscoe. As Roscoe shares what he knows, Edith's tragedies unfold: a childhood of pre-dawn chores, a mother's death, a violence that leaves a father dependent on his children, forever enraged. Here is the story of a woman who sacrifices her happiness in the name of family--and then, in one gesture, reclaims her freedom. Breathtaking, determinedly truthful, The Tie That Binds is a powerfully eloquent tribute to the arduous demands of rural America, and of the tenacity of the human spirit.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An impressive, expertly crafted work of sensitivity and detail. . . . Powerful."  --Los Angeles Times Book Review

"[A] fine first novel that dramatically and accurately explores the lives of people who work the land in the stark American Middle West."  --The New York Times Book Review

"Kent Haruf writes so wonderfully. . . . His characters live, and the voice of his narrator reverberates after the last page: humorous, ironic, loving."  --The Christian Science Monitor

"Haruf's gifts as a writer go beyond choreography. He has caught his prairie people with the skill of Wright Morris, the prairie itself with the sweeping eye of Willa Cather. . . . [I]t's nearly impossible to believe this is his first novel."  --Rocky Mountain News


From the Trade Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

Colorado, January 1977. Eighty-year-old Edith Goodnough lies in a hospital bed, IV taped to the back of her hand, police officer at her door. She is charged with murder. The clues: a sack of chicken feed slit with a knife, a milky-eyed dog tied outdoors one cold afternoon. The motives: the brutal business of farming and a family code of ethics as unforgiving as the winter prairie itself.

In his critically acclaimed first novel, Kent Haruf delivers the sweeping tale of a woman of the American High Plains, as told by her neighbor, Sanders Roscoe. As Roscoe shares what he knows, Edith's tragedies unfold: a childhood of pre-dawn chores, a mother's death, a violence that leaves a father dependent on his children, forever enraged. Here is the story of a woman who sacrifices her happiness in the name of family--and then, in one gesture, reclaims her freedom. Breathtaking, determinedly truthful, The Tie That Binds is a powerfully eloquent tribute to the arduous demands of rural America, and of the tenacity of the human spirit.

Product Details

  • File Size: 333 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375724389
  • Publisher: Vintage; Vintage Contemporaries ed edition (May 12, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4A90
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,162 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Even Better Than Plainsong August 29, 2000
Format:Paperback
The first book I read from Kent Haruf was Plainsong, which I thought was one of the best books of the year. The Tie That Binds, however, may be even better. It's bleak simplicity, as stark as the Colorado plains in which it takes place, assaults the reader slowly and steadily, unrelenting, but sublime and oh so human. The story of Sanders Roscoe and his neighbors Edith and Lyman Goodnough is heartbreaking and inevitable. Told by Roscoe in a voice as authentic as any I've ever heard, the tale unwinds slowly and passionately. I can imagine sitting in Roscoe's house listening to him tell his side of the story with the rapt attention he demands and deserves. Like Plainsong, the book is full of characters who, with the exception of Edith's father, straddle the line between heroism and villanry. No one is without blame or imperfections, regardless of their intentions. Haruf obviously understands life in Holt, Colorado, and does a wonderful job of conveying it to the reader. Likewise, he knows people and the characters in this book jump off the pages with honesty and realness. An excellent book and another reason to delve deeper into the Haruf portfolio of fine books.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost as good as PLAINSONG! May 7, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
THE TIE THAT BINDS is structured differently than PLAINSONG. For one thing it's written in first person and the narrator, rancher Sanders Roscoe, holds the point of view throughout the novel. But the story is really about Edith Goodnough, who is being charged with the murder of her brother. Roscoe takes us all the way back to the nineteenth century when Edith's father Roy emigrated to Holt County, Colorado. He and his wife, Ada, have two children, Edith and Lyman. Roy is an ornery cuss who treats his family like possessions. Ada, who longs for her home country in Iowa, soon dies and Edith becomes the mother, a role she will play for the rest of her life.

Sanders' father once had a romantic attachment to Edith but Roy rejects him because he's part Native American. His father never quite gets over Edith and makes Sanders help out at the Goodnoughs when Roy tries to make Edith work in the fields. She becomes a second mother to Sanders.

These characters are simply amazing. Lyman Goodnough, who escapes his father during WWII and travels the U.S. for most of his life, is a true original. Little Rena Roscoe, Sanders' daughter, adds a little comic relief to the story when she forms an attachment to the increasingly senile Lyman. About the only character from PLAINSONG that's familiar is Sheriff Bud Sealy, who incites Sanders' wrath when he arrests Edith. Believe me, it doesn't matter; this author can make the most transitory character resonate with life.

Kent Haruf has more compassion in his little toenail than some of our religious leaders have in their whole congregation. When Edith's father dies, she winds up alone. Haruf's description of what this does to a person, sent shivers up my spine. I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. I've read PLAINSONG, EVENSONG and now THE TIE THAT BINDS, and I can't wait for the next episode in the lives of the people who live in Holt, Colorado.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Packs a wallop August 15, 2000
Format:Paperback
This is the 3rd Haruf book I've read. Started with PLAINSONG which was a complete masterpiece, then moved onto WHERE YOU ONCE BELONGED which was a haunting story about small town love. Now, THE TIE THAT BINDS explores the life of one central character, a woman who forsakes a deep and true lover to care for her physically maimed and emotionally abusive father. Haruf's writing is absorbing, engrossing and totally spellbinding. The reader comes to understand the motives behind the sometimes desperate actions of these people. I love the spare, bleak descriptions of life in this town of Holt. The novel builds to an inevitable, heartbreaking conclusion. I'd give more than a nickel to read more from this author...I thoroughly enjoy his work. This is a quick, compelling read that will stay with you for a long time.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clear Eye to Duty September 3, 2002
Format:Paperback
Fifteen years before he wrote his masterpiece Plainsong, Kent Haruf produced this gem. The Tie That Binds will surely find readers as a result of Plainsong, a fine story about brothers and loneliness and tenacity in the High Plains community of Holt, Colorado. Haruf's first novel also features the relationship between siblings, the dutiful Edith Goodnough and her simple brother Lyman, both children of failed homesteaders condemned to a hard life on a dryland farm south of Holt. She is, in the words of the narrator, Sanders Roscoe, her admiring neighbor from the adjacent ranch, a person who "continued to endure by plain courage and a clear eye to duty." In her 80 years, Edith has known 4 men well - her own flawed father and his feckless son Lyman - and another father and son, John and Sanders Roscoe, who are the only persons in the world who truly understand her courage, incredible sense of duty, and beauty. But, as Sanders says "understanding it doesn't mean liking it". Edith's story is haunting yet inspirational. Sanders wonderful narration is filled with the stoic truths of the Great Plains: "Life ain't fair" and "If you can't understand it, you just have to accept it" and "It wasn't anybody's fault. It happened; that's all." The tenor of The Tie That Binds is reminiscent of a two very different classics of the Plains: Larry McMurtry's "Last Picture Show" and Ole Rolvaag's "Giants in the Earth." Having grown up on the Eastern Colorado plains, I swear I know many of the characters. They are as genuine as the real article and every bit as tragic. Five stars without reservation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Excellent Book by Kent Haruf
I read Plainsong and could hardly put it down, I read Eventide and read it in just a few days, and now have read four of Kent Haruf' s books. Read more
Published 6 days ago by L. Schlesser
4.0 out of 5 stars Brutal and gripping
This is Haruf's first novel and I was moved to read it because I was much attracted by his Plainsong which i read 23 Apr 2000. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Schmerguls
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautifully written and delightful read.
Published 1 month ago by Bert Samuelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Kent Haruf has never disappointed me
This is the 4th novel I've enjoyed by this author and I have one more in my wish list... The characters in this family are so vivid you will feel both hate and love as you are... Read more
Published 1 month ago by twetee
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
I am in love with Kent Haruf's writing and fine storytelling and character descriptions. The Tie That Binds doesn't disappoint! You will fall in love with every character.
Published 2 months ago by wolffie
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Annie Proulx, you'll like Kent Haruf
Great book. Theme Reminiscent of Ethan Frome, crazy sense of duty and obligation ruining someone's life. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Elizabeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Downhome story
My grandparents homesteaded on the eastern plains of Colorado - both sets of them. I knew my grandmothers' lives were tough - they each had 8 children to raise and all the work and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by C. Bishop
4.0 out of 5 stars Anotehr "Winnder from Haruf
This book almost completes my reading all of Kent Haruf's books. I recommend all of them as they are compelling books with interesting characters.
Published 4 months ago by Nancy C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I think this is quite possibly Kent Haruf's best book, which is a surprise because the books that followed it were all fantastic, but for a writers first book to be this good, does... Read more
Published 4 months ago by P. M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Came suggested
I have read all of Haruf's books suggested by our newspaper reviewer's suggestion. Happy I did. Fell like I know the entire town which seems now so real to me.
Published 4 months ago by Judith
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