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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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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After the critical and popular success of Plainsong and its sequel, Eventide, Colorado native Haruf returns to his fictional town of Holt, on the high plains of eastern Colorado. As Dad Lewis, a central figure in the community, lies dying, he looks out from his bedroom window over the familiar wheat fields and pastures dotted with black cattle. His wife, Mary, is constantly by his side, and daughter Lorraine has left a lackluster romance in Denver to come help. Only the Lewises' relationship with their absent son, Frank, clouds Dad's blessed life. Numerous neighbors stop by to keep Dad's spirits up despite being burdened with their own cares. Rev. Lyle's heartwarming stories of people he's helped cover up a dark past. The Johnson women, mother Willa and daughter Alene, appear dull and unremarkable, but Alene hides an intense loneliness stemming from a passionate affair with a married man. As Dad's life slips away, these neighbors forge indelible bonds. -VERDICT Haruf captures the sadness and hardship, the joys and triumphs behind the lives of ordinary people. Benediction has an understated Our Town quality that's all the more powerful in the hands of this master storyteller. This is exceptional fiction not to be missed. [See Prepub Alert, 9/10/12.]-Donna Bettencourt, Mesa County Libs., Grand Junction, CO (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* From the terroir and populace of his native American West, the author of Plainsong (1999) and Eventide (2004) again draws a story elegant in its simple telling and remarkable in its authentic capture of universal human emotions. The last, dying days of old Dad Lewis supply the framework for this sober yet reverberant novel. Dad owns a store in a small Colorado town, and his terminal illness draws out the compassion of his adult daughter, whom Dad wants to take over his business upon his imminent passing, and sparks an arousal in his long-devoted wife to seek some degree of resolution to an unhealed family wound. Dad's closing days also stir emotions in other town residents who are in Dad's realm of acquaintances, including the girl who moved in next door to stay with her grandmother and whose memories of her deceased mother remain raw; the new minister in town who suddenly rebels against the reluctance of his congregation to think about new ideas; and a mother and daughter, the former advanced in years and the latter now in middle age, who still confront traits in each other that they would just as soon not see.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2010 Booklist