Our Souls at Night
Author: Kent Haruf
Finished: March 3, 2019
One evening, the widow Addie goes over to her neighbor’s house to ask the widower Louis to consider something. After some hemming and hawing she gets to the point:
“I wonder if you would consider coming to my house sometimes to sleep with me.” [p 4]
But she isn’t talking about sex; she’s talking about not being alone.
“..I’m talking about getting through the night. And lyiing warm in bed, companionably. Lying down in bed together and you staying the night. The nights are the worst. Don’t you think?”
“Yes, I think so.”
And so, Louis does just that and they spend their nights talking and learning about one another. But this is small town Holt, Colorado – the fictional town Kent Haruf wrote about in six novels – and word gets around. The novel is a study of their growing relationship and the tides of public opinion. It’s a twist having an older couple being the subject of talk about an unmarried relationship. Talking with his daughter, Louis says “I never acted like a teenager. I never dared anything.” [p 52]
This is a beautiful novel – Haruf’s last – which he wrote after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Perhaps that realization lends to the quiet tone of the book. It is interesting to read his novels and get six different perspectives of small town life in rural, small town eastern Colorado. Haruf playfully recalls his other stories in small asides of this novel.
Kent Haruf was a fantastic author and this is a worthy read.