(0)
 
Benediction
by Kent Haruf

Overview - A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year
From the beloved and best-selling author of "Plainsong "and "Eventide" comes a story of life and death, and the ties that bind, once again set out on the High Plains in Holt, Colorado.
When Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and his wife, Mary, must work together to make his final days as comfortable as possible.
  Read more...

 
Hardcover
  • Retail Price: $25.95
  • $19.72
    (Save 24%)

Add to Cart + Add to Wishlist

In Stock.

FREE Shipping for Club Members
Not a member? Join Today!
 
 
New & Used Marketplace 65 copies from $2.99
 
Download

This item is available only to U.S. billing addresses.
 
 
 
 

More About Benediction by Kent Haruf
 
 
 
Overview
A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year
From the beloved and best-selling author of "Plainsong "and "Eventide" comes a story of life and death, and the ties that bind, once again set out on the High Plains in Holt, Colorado.
When Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and his wife, Mary, must work together to make his final days as comfortable as possible. Their daughter, Lorraine, hastens back from Denver to help look after him; her devotion softens the bitter absence of their estranged son, Frank, but this cannot be willed away and remains a palpable presence for all three of them. Next door, a young girl named Alice moves in with her grandmother and contends with the painful memories that Dad's condition stirs up of her own mother's death. Meanwhile, the town's newly arrived preacher attempts to mend his strained relationships with his wife and teenaged son, a task that proves all the more challenging when he faces the disdain of his congregation after offering more than they are accustomed to getting on a Sunday morning. And throughout, an elderly widow and her middle-aged daughter do everything they can to ease the pain of their friends and neighbors.
Despite the travails that each of these families faces, together they form bonds strong enough to carry them through the most difficult of times. Bracing, sad and deeply illuminating, "Benediction "captures the fullness of life by representing every stage of it, including its extinction, as well as the hopes and dreams that sustain us along the way. Here Kent Haruf gives us his most indelible portrait yet of this small town and reveals, with grace and insight, the compassion, the suffering and, above all, the humanity of its inhabitants.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780307959881
  • ISBN-10: 0307959880
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publish Date: February 2013
  • Page Count: 257


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Religious - General
Books > Fiction > Family Life

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-12-24
  • Reviewer: Staff

In Holt, the fictional Colorado town where all of Haruf’s novels are set, longtime resident Dad Lewis is dying of cancer. Happily married (he calls his wife “his luck”), Dad spends his last weeks thinking over his life, particularly an incident that ended badly with a clerk in his store, and his relationship with his estranged son. As his wife and daughter care for him, life goes on: one of the Lewises’ neighbors takes in her young granddaughter; an elderly woman and her middle-aged daughter visit with the Lewises, with each other, and with the new minister, whose wife and son are unhappy about his transfer to Holt from Denver. Haruf isn’t interested in the trendy or urban; as he once said, he writes about “regular, ordinary, sort of elemental” characters, who speak simply and often don’t speak much at all. “Regular and ordinary” can equate with dull. However, though this is a quiet book, it’s not a boring one. Dad and his family and neighbors try, in small, believable ways, to make peace with those they live among, to understand a world that isn’t the one in which they came of age. Separately and together, all the characters are trying to live—and in Dad’s case, to die—with dignity, a struggle Haruf (Eventide) renders with delicacy and skill. Agent: Nancy Stauffer Cahoon, Nancy Stauffer Associates. (Feb.)

 
BookPage Reviews

The beauty of everyday moments

Nine years after the publication of his last novel, Kent Haruf returns with the final volume of what is likely to be thought of, along with its predecessor Eventide and 1999’s Plainsong, as the Holt Trilogy. Whether he’s portraying life in this small town on Colorado’s high plains or the complex inner lives of his outwardly simple characters, Haruf brings to this latest story the same empathy and insight that have marked his earlier novels.

Benediction unfolds over the course of a summer that measures out the final days of Dad Lewis, the septuagenarian owner of Holt’s hardware store. Outwardly he’s resigned to his fate, but his last months are dogged by regrets over nearly four decades of estrangement from his gay son and memories of his handling of an employee’s embezzlement that had tragic consequences. Though he’s not religious “in any orthodox way,” Dad’s life is governed by a strict moral code that simultaneously inspires acts of sternness and enormous generosity. His naturally taciturn character becomes even more so as his cancer advances, so that when his powerful emotions bubble to the surface the effect is even more impressive.

Haruf has created a memorable group of supporting characters to complement Dad and his immediate family—his daughter and his patient, loving wife of 55 years. The most distinctive is Reverend Rob Lyle, who’s been exiled to Holt from Denver after coming to the defense of a gay minister. His compassion is matched only by a candor in his preaching that reveals a self-destructive streak. Alene Johnson, the middle-aged daughter of a Lewis family friend, mourns a long-ago affair with a married man that marked the melancholy end of her search for love. Alice, an 8-year-old who lives with her grandmother, the Lewises’ next-door neighbor, learns some early lessons about life and death from watching Dad’s decline. Bred in the harsh beauty of the rugged Colorado landscape, the lives of these characters possess an admirable stoic quality.

There’s no manufactured drama in this novel, and that’s of a piece with Haruf’s previous books. The mastery he displays in this simple, quiet story, and in all his fiction, lies in portraying what one character thinks of as “the little dramas, the routine moments,” what he calls the “precious ordinary.” That Haruf can bring those moments to life with such precision and beauty is ample reason to savor his work.

 
BAM Customer Reviews

DISCUSSION