Life and Death in a Small Prairie Town

"Benediction" by Kent Haruf

Kent Haruf's new book "Benediction" is his third novel set in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado. It is the poignant story of a dying man looking back on his life. Dad Lewis faces his last days at home with his wife and adult daughter. He considers his good fortune as well as some unresolved regrets. His family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors offer what help they can as they struggle with their own sorrows.

Haruf uses beautiful language and a simple style to depict the understated drama of everyday life. The pace of this book is slow, but the minimal action is heavy with consequence.

Readers were first introduced to the community of Holt in 1999 with Haruf's novel "Plainsong." He continued the story in 2004 with "Eventide." All three novels have similar pacing and tone. They have a good dose of melancholy, but the dogged persistence of the characters leaves a reader feeling hopeful, not dejected.

--Jennifer A., Headquarters

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