Our Souls at Night

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by Kent Haruf

Reading OUR SOULS AT NIGHT is like looking at a watercolor painting by one of the great masters. It’s subtle. It’s expansive. It’s ordinary, and it’s breathtaking.
It opens with a proposal one May evening from Addie Moore to her long-time neighbor Louis Waters. They’ve known each other for years, but have not been close. Both have lost spouses and are living alone.
“I wonder if you would consider coming to my house sometimes to sleep with me,” Addie asks him. Not to have sex, she assures him, just to be warm and together in bed when the nights are long and the loneliness hits hardest. Just to talk awhile and then sleep.
They live in the small town of Holt, where Haruf set all of his novels. It’s near where Nebraska and Kansas meet Colorado. It’s a town where everyone pays attention to everyone else’s business. Some talk, and some don’t. Addie tells Louis she no longer cares what other people say.
In the dark together, they talk about their spouses, their children, their tragedies, their mistakes and their disappointments. Over the course of the summer, Addie’s son’s wife runs off to Los Angeles just as his business is failing and he asks her to watch his son Jamie until he can get things under control.  For Jamie, his grandmother and her friend Louis become a life raft when his family and his world are coming apart.
Not everyone in Holt — or in Addie’s and Louis’s families — understand or accept their relationship. One of those most unable to accept the relationship is Addie’s son Gene, Jamie’s father. His disapproval turns a delightfully emerging relationship into a tragedy.
This book is Quaker simple — and deeply moving.
The Author: Kent Haruf (1943-2014)
Kent Haruf finished Our Souls at Night the summer before he died. It was published posthumously. You can learn more about Kent Haruf here.


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