Friday, 11 January 2019

Review: Our Souls at Night

Our Souls at Night Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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.

There's definitely something about this book that makes me understand why some people rate it so highly. Difficult to put my finger on exactly what that is. There is so much that frustrated me, especially the decision to use no speech punctuation marks when a lot of the text is either spoken or thought. I found myself re-reading many paragraphs to work out what had actually been said and by who.

The whole premise of the story is a little hard to get your head around too. I can't imagine being widowed in my 70s and approaching a relative stranger (albeit a long time neighbour) to share by bed at night just to talk, because I was lonely. But that's what Addie does. She approaches her neighbour Louis with her proposal.

The book charts how this develops and the reactions of their families. It's interesting but I wouldn't call it a great book. For anyone wondering whether it's worth a try the big thing in its favour is that it's quite short and therefore a quick read. Be prepared for a disappointing ending though.

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  1. Interesting. Not sure I would enjoy the book but it is an interesting concept and subject.

  2. Haven't read the book, but I enjoyed the movie with Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. The lack of punctuation for dialogue would have driven me crazy.


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