Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication Date: May 26th 2015
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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.
This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
This is my first book by Kent Haruf. Our Souls At Night is a story that contains mostly dialogue between the characters. There is not a lot of flowery details or background, but you still totally get what the author is trying to get across.
I found Our Souls At Night to be a simplistic story that packs a huge emotional punch. I read this one quickly, and found myself getting completely attached to the main characters, Addie and Louis. The book is tenderly portrayed, and although the ending broke my heart, but I would still definitely recommend it.
The story is about two people in their twilight years who have both lost their spouses and live alone. It starts when Addie goes to Louis’s home and presents a proposition that he come to her house at night and share her bed…..for company and conversation. She explains that having spent most of her life with her husband, she finds the night to be especially lonely and has a hard time sleeping. She goes on to explain that she misses the closeness of having someone next to her at night, and the comfort that it provided. Louis accepts and soon begins his nightly trek to her house every evening and then promptly leaves when they awake. He always waits until after dark and uses the back door as he doesn’t want people to talk, (they do anyway…) but Addie tells him that she doesn’t care what people think and that they are not doing anything shameful. After that, they no longer keep their arrangement secret as they begin to venture out and spend time doing things together during the day.
One day Addie’s son calls and wants her to let her grandson come and stay for awhile while he is sorting out some marital issues. Addie agrees and the boy comes to stay. Louis stays away for a short while, but then Addie tells him that it is okay to resume their nightly regimen. The three of them become close and they take the boy on many outings and Louis even gets him a dog. I will not go into the rest of the book, as it unfolds so beautifully that I believe that it has to be read the way the author wrote it, not how I explain it.
Do yourself a favor and pick up any book you can get your hands on by Kent Haruf. You will not regret it. He writes simply, yet tender and beautiful. I am definitely going to have them all on my shelves. His books will speak to your soul as well as your heart.
Grade: 3 out of 5