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“It’s always two people bumping against each other blindly, acting out of old ideas and dreams and mistaken understandings.”

Our Souls at Night ~ Kent Haruf

I will be reading more of Kent Haruf. This is a book which he wrote in full knowledge would be his last. Perhaps this was why he had a keen perspective on what it is like to live abundantly when one is nearing one’s end.

The story takes place in the sleepy town of Holt, which is Haruf’s own fictional place used in most of his other writing as well. Louis and Addie are ageing, have been neighbours for decades and have grown lonely now that they are widowed and their children live away. That is until Addie propositions him, to come and lie with her in her bed at night. She makes it very clear that it is only for the purposes of sharing a bed with someone else, to have the comfort of knowing there is somebody sleeping beside her. There is no romance involved, and sex is as good as out of the question. Louis takes her up on the offer, and what follows is a short and persuading commentary on social structures, what is and is not taboo and just the grace of growing old with someone else.

I finished the book in one go, and despite the simplicity of the plot, I couldn’t put it down. Even though I haven’t yet read anything else by Haruf, all I know is that this book is perfect. It is essential, and I hope I remember it when I am old, and if I ever lose courage.

Why you should read it:

  • Because of its lucidity and lack of embellishments. You will breeze through this one.
  • Because just with this one example, Haruf has proven that he was a master storyteller
  • If you like quiet reads

Why you shouldn’t read it:

  • If you’re looking for a thrilling novel, and expect plot twists