Sunday, August 3, 2014

Book Review: Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Interwoven Lives in Holt Colorado

The stories of several characters in a small southwest town come together, demonstrating the fabric of a community, with all of its flaws.

In this book there is no real central character as the author gives equal representation to a host of major characters along with vignettes for some other figures. There is Tom Guthrie, a high school teacher with two sons, and a wife that is no longer interested in participating in the world in any meaningful way. We also meet Maggie Jones, another teacher from the same school who is a caretaker to her eldery father. There is also Victoria, a pregnant 17 year old who is abandoned by her mother. And finally, there are McPherons, older single bachelors with a farm but no other family. Without giving anything away, these figures all come together and intersect.

This book is written in a very straightforward way with wonderful descriptions in both the settings and the dialogue that come off as genuine. It had a lyrical quality to it and felt "real". I really enjoyed the little bits that focused on Tom Guthrie's sons and their (mis)adventures as young boys trying to come into their own.

This book is an interesting read and I enjoyed it.

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