Plainsong and Eventide by Kent Haruf are related novels about small town life in a fictional town called Holt, Colorado. Using this quintessentially American farming community as his base, Haruf examines what it means to be family and be connected to someone and what it takes to be a good neighbor
In Plainsong we are introduced to Tom Guthrie, a teacher whose wife cannot seem to get out of bed and their two young boys who are bewildered by what is happening to their family. Victoria Roubideaux. another character, is a pregnant teen who has been thrown out of her home and is helped by Maggie Jones, a teacher, who enlists the crusty bachelor Mcpheron brothers to invite Victoria into their home until the baby is born.
In Eventide we continue the story of the Mcpheron brothers and their relationship to Victoria and her baby, but we are introduced to some new characters as well, like the Wallace family who are struggling both financially, mentally and emotionally, and Rose Tyler the social worker who is helping them. We also meet DJ who is being raised by his elderly ill grandfather who does not have much energy or imagination to raise a young boy.
Haruf tells these each of these people’s stories in a no-nonsense unsentimental way. His simple and direct prose moves each story along, creating a taut narrative that builds with emotional tension. With each revelation of the loneliness, fear and loss these characters experience, we also see acts of kindness and gentleness, and even love in the the way people connect with each other in times of trouble and are family to one another even when they are not related at all.
Brenda’s Rating: ****(4 Stars out of 5)
Recommend this book to: Keith, Sharon and Ken
Book Study Worthy: Yes!