Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
Our Souls at Night: A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.
In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.
Their brave adventures—their pleasures and their difficulties—are hugely involving and truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.
An Amazon Best Book of June 2015: Elderly widow Addie Moore pays a visit to her aging widower neighbor, Louis Waters. They were never close, just knew each other peripherally, which makes the reason for this social call all the more intriguing. Addie would like to know if Louis is interested in sleeping with her. Now, now, this scenario was conceived by the late, great Kent Haruf – Our Souls at Night is no 50 Shades of Geriatric Grey.
Set in the same fictional Colorado town as his National Book Award-nominated Plainsong, a town with its fair share of gossips, Addie and Louis embark on an unlikely friendship, an antidote to the loneliness they most exquisitely felt at night. As this friendship deepens, it is tested by said busybodies and meddling family members, plot points that almost distract from what makes this novel such a fitting and sweet swan song.
Our Souls at Night was inspired, in part, by Haruf’s own marriage and the intimate, late-night conversations he and his wife relished, just like Addie and Louis. And just like Addie and Louis, Haruf proved that you’re never too old to reinvent yourself, take risks, find love, and write a great novel. –Erin Kodicek
More Winesburg that Mayberry, Holt and its residents are shaped by physical solitude and emotional reticence… Haruf’s fiction ratifies ordinary, nonflashy decency, but he also knows that even the most placid lives are more complicated than they appear from the outside… The novel is a plainspoken, vernacular farewell. – Catherine Holmes, The Charleston Post and Courier
A marvelous addition to his oeuvre… spare but eloquent, bittersweet yet hopeful. – Kurt Rabin, The Fredericksburg Freelance-Star
Lateness—and second chances—have always been a theme for Haruf. But here, in a book about love and the aftermath of grief, in his final hours, he has produced his most intense expression of that yet… Packed into less than 200 pages are all the issues late life provokes. – John Freeman, The Boston Globe
A fitting close to a storied career, a beautiful rumination on aging, accommodation, and our need to connect… As a meditation on life and forthcoming death, Haruf couldn’t have done any better. He has given us a powerful, pared-down story of two characters who refuse to go gentle into that good night. – Lynn Rosen, The Philadelphia Enquirer
A delicate, sneakily devastating evocation of place and character… Haruf’s story accumulates resonance through carefully chosen details; the novel is quiet but never complacent. – The New Yorker
Elegiac, mournful and compassionate. . .a triumphant end to an inspiring literary career and a reminder of a loss on the American cultural landscape, as well as a parting gift from a master storyteller. – William J. Cobb, The Dallas Morning News
A fine and poignant novel that demonstrates that our desire to love and to be loved does not dissolve with age… The story speeds along, almost as if it’s a page-turning mystery. – Joseph Peschel, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
By turns amusing and sad, skipping-down-the-sidewalk light and pensive… I recommend reading it straight through, then sitting in quiet reflection of beautiful literary art. – Fred Ohles, The Lincoln Journal Star
Haruf is never sentimental, and the ending—multiple twists packed into the last twenty pages—is gritty, painful and utterly human… His novels are imbued with an affection and understanding that transform the most mundane details into poetry. Like the friendly light shining from Addie’s window, Haruf’s final novel is a beacon of hope; he is sorely missed. – Francesca Wade, Financial Times
Haruf was knows as a great writer and teacher whose work will endure… The cadence of this book is soft and gentle, filled with shy emotion, as tentative as a young person’s first kiss—timeless in its beauty… Addie and Louis find a type of love that, as our society ages, ever more people in the baby boom generation may find is the only kind of love that matters. – Jim Ewing, The Jackson Clarion-Ledger
There is so much wisdom in this beautifully pared-back and gentle book. . . a small, quiet gem, written in English so plain that it sparkles. – Anne Susskind, The Sydney Morning Herald.
His great subject was the struggle of decency against small-mindedness, and his rare gift was to make sheer decency a moving subject… This novel runs on the dogged insistence that simple elements carry depths, and readers will find much to be grateful for. – Joan Silber, The New York Times Book Review.
In a fitting and gorgeous end to a body of work that prizes resilience above all else, Haruf has bequeathed readers a map charting a future that is neither easy nor painless, but it’s also not something we have to bear alone. – Esquire
Utterly charming and distilled to elemental purity… such a tender, carefully polished work that it seems like a blessing we had no right to expect. – Ron Charles, The Washington Post.
Haruf spent a life making art from our blind collisions, and Our Souls at Night is a fitting finish. – John Reimringer, The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Haruf once again banishes doubts. Our souls can surprise us. Beneath the surface of reticent lives—and of Haruf’s calm prose—they prove unexpectedly brave. – Ann Hulbert, The Atlantic.
Blunt, textured, and dryly humorous. . . this quietly elegiac novel caps a fine, late-blooming and tenacious writing career… Haruf’s gift is to make hay of the unexpected, and it feels like a mercy… This is a novel for just after sunset on a summer’s eve, when the sky is still light and there is much to see, if you are looking. – Wingate Packard, The Seattle Times.
A parting gift and a reminder of how profoundly we will miss Holt and its people, and Kent Haruf’s extraordinary writing. – Sandra Dallas, The Denver Post.
Short, spare and moving…Our Souls at Night is already creating a stir. – Jennifer Maloney, The Wall Street Journal
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