“I wonder if you would consider coming to my house sometimes to sleep with me.”
“What? How do you mean?”
“I mean we’re both alone. We’ve been by ourselves for too long. For years. I’m lonely. I think you might be too. I wonder if you would come and sleep in the night with me. And talk.”
He stared at her, watching her, curious now, cautious….
….he stood at the door watching her, this medium-sized seventy-year-old woman with white hair walking away under the trees in the patches of light thrown out by the corner street lamp. What in the hell, he said. Now don’t get ahead of yourself.”
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
There is no writer quite like Kent Haruf. He’s been a favorite of mine for a long time. I wrote about his other novels, Plainsong (my favorite), Eventide, and Benediction here.
Haruf passed away a year ago, and his final novel, Our Souls at Night, about the blossoming of an older couple’s relationship, was just published.
Like his other novels, Our Souls at Night takes place in the fictitious eastern Colorado town of Holt. I’m not going to say too much about this book because Haruf’s writing doesn’t lend itself to heavy analysis; I think that might ruin it for readers new to this author.
Instead, I’ll refer you to this review by Ursula Le Guin, who greatly admires Haruf’s writing and does a good job of summarizing Haruf’s themes, characters and style.
If you are new to Kent Haruf, you could start with Plainsong. I think you’ll be entranced by the characters in the lonely little desert town of Holt and you’ll want to read the other books.
Our Souls at Night would make a wonderful holiday gift.
“They stopped in one of the towns for hamburgers and then drove up the highway through the Arkansas River canyon, the beautiful fast water, steep red jagged cliffs on each side, there were Rocky Mountain sheep along the road, all ewes with short sharp horns, and went on and then turned off toward North Fork Campground on County Road 240 and entered the national forest…..They could hear it running and rushing. The clear icy water, with brook trout holed up in the hollows below the rocks. There were tall fir trees and big ponderosas and aspen along the creek and back in the hillside.”