Plainsong: Picador Classic
With an introduction by Peter Carey. "I suppose it is crazy. I don't know. I don't even care. But that girl needs somebody ...And you old solitary bastards need somebody too. Somebody or something besides an old red cow to care about and worry over." Set in Kent Haruf's fictional landscape of Holt County, Colorado, Plainsong is a story of simple lives told with extraordinary empathy. Tom Guthrie is struggling to bring up his two young sons alone and, in the same town, school girl Victoria Roubideaux is pregnant and homeless. Whilst Tom's boys find their way forward without their mother, brothers Harold and Raymond McPheron - gentle, solitary, gruff and unpolished - agree to take Victoria in, unaware that their lives will change forever. A novel of haunting beauty from one of America's greatest writers of our time, Plainsong is an undeniable classic that explores the grace and hope of every human life and mankind's infinity capacity for love.
'Beautifully crafted, alive and quietly magnificent. I read it in one mesmerising sitting. I had no choice; it would not let me go' Roddy Doyle
Kent Haruf's prose murmurs a haunting melody through the intertwined lives of a Colorado community. It is a simple tale of life, death, love and hatred The Times Like all the best novels, Plainsong takes you into a world that is at once real and vividly imagined. Here is a poetry of landscape, a tender and passionate evocation of ordinary people in majestic country -- Niall Williams The hundreds of thousands of fans of this book have been nothing less than devotional in their praise of Kent Haruf Times Literary Supplement Plainsong is nothing short of a revelation -- Richard Russo Plainsong is a well-crafted investigation into how disparate voices, each unique and interconnected, can come together in the most unlikely of circumstances ... Haruf offers a fresh approach by creating layers which intensify and deepen as the novel progresses, alternating between each character's life at every chapter Observer A first-rate, old-fashioned read Time Out From simple strands of language and cuttings of talk, from the look of the high Colorado plains east of Denver almost to the place where Nebraska and Kansas meet, Haruf has made a novel so foursquare, so delicate and lovely, that it has the power to exalt the reader. New York Times Plainsong is a beauty, as spare and heartbreaking as an abandoned homestead cabin, always tough but humane, never sentimental...It's a story that draws the reader like a heat mirage -- James Crumley Plainsong becomes a story of mythic proportion, and not just a story about a small town in the American West, but a story of universal concern. Our story Boston Review I've had the delightful experience once again of becoming so absorbed in a book that I couldn't have slowed down if I tried ... At certain points I was horrified by the austerity of the isolated lives in this story, and yet on every page I savoured the beauty of the telling Chicago Tribune True to the country he writes about, Haruf builds his characters out of small gestures and daily rituals, not dialogue. Theirs is a deep language, like the rumble before an earthquake Los Angeles Times Elegant in its simplicity, elemental in its power, it arouses deep and hard-earned emotions Newsday A lovely read, illuminated by sparks of spare beauty Time
Kent Haruf's honours include a Whiting Foundation Award and a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation. Plainsong won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the New Yorker Book Award. Haruf's 2013 novel, Benediction, was shortlisted for the Folio prize. He died in 2014 at the age of seventy-one.