Book Review: Plainsong by Kent Haruf

PlainsongWhat’s it about?

In Holt, Colorado, Tom Guthrie is struggling to bring up his two young sons alone. In the same town, school girl Victoria Roubideaux finds herself pregnant and homeless. Whilst Tom’s sons find their way forward without their mother, quiet and gentle Harold and Raymond McPheron agree to take Victoria in, unaware that their lives are about to change forever.

A novel of haunting beauty, Plainsong explores the grace and hope of every human life and mankind’s infinity capacity for love.

My thoughts

This was our book club choice for August and one that if I’m honest I wasn’t really looking forward too. I expected and presumed incorrectly that it would be heavy literature with words I wouldn’t understand but I was wrong; this was an easy read.

The book is set around a small group of characters from a small town in the mid-US who are all given an equal amount of air time and with each comes their own unique voice. One thing I did find odd is that there was no speech marks at all, you are aware of who is speaking; it’s just not punctuated – is this a particular style of writing?

Anyway, we have generally decent people and a couple of not so nice people just doing the best that they can with the cards they’ve been dealt. Nothing really remarkable happens, yet that in its own way makes it remarkable. It’s also hard to date, there isn’t any reference to computers or mobiles so I estimated it to be set in the Eighties.

There’s a little too much detail in the horse autopsy and dehorning of cows for my liking; I’m not usually squeamish but this wasn’t nice.

A story of everyday life in a small town in the middle of nowhere, doesn’t sound like a massively attractive book but I can assure you, you will become invested in these characters and their lives and will wonder what happens to them long after you put the book down…just as well there’s a sequel! Am now quite interested to read the sequels Eventide and Benediction.

Get the book Paperback | Kindle

Discover more about the author Kent Haruf here

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