Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Our Souls at Night

Cover image for Our souls at night
Our Souls at Night
By Kent Haruf
Alfred A. Knopf, 2015, 179 pages, General Fiction

In the fictional town of Holt, Colorado, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to her neighbor of forty years, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and the two have lived alone ever since. Now Addie has a proposition: She asks that Louis come over every evening and stay with her in bed, just to get through the lonely nights. Louis is lonely too, so he agrees. Soon they find themselves talking of not just trivial things, but exchanging confidences and memories.

I heard Kent Haruf give an author talk a few years ago, and his talk was so engaging I’ve been meaning to pick up one of his books ever since. I find it ironic that my first Haruf novel is his last. All of Haruf’s novels are set in the small fictional town of Holt, Colorado, where everyone knows each other, and everyone has an opinion. This causes the driving conflict of the novel. While Addie and Louis are fine with the idea of sleeping in the same bed, not everyone understands their need for companionship, and everyone feels the need to share what they think.

Haruf’s writing is spare and eloquent, and while not much actually happens plot-wise, it’s the writing that will keep you reading. I listened to the audiobook version, and I loved the narrator, Mark Bramhall. His voice fits the character of Louis so well, and he read with just the right tones, inflections, and speed. I could listen to him read all day.


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