Plainsong

By Kent Haruf
  • Fiction
  • Relationship

This is a story of simple lives told with extraordinary empathy. It is beautifully crafted, alive and quietly magnificent.

Tom Guthrie is struggling to bring up his two young sons alone, whilst in the same town a schoolgirl Victoria Roubideaux is pregnant and homeless. Whilst Tom’s young boys find their way without their mother, old batchelor brothers Harold and Raymond McPherson, gentle, solitary, gruff and unpolished agree to take Victoria in, unaware that their lives will change forever.

Kent Haruf composes sentences that seem so plain and simple, page after page, yet they induce a powerful and emotional response in the reader. One might expect pain and cruelty in this remote town, so it is a constant delight to find oneself in the middle of a love story, not just one love story but many involving a pregnant schoolgirl expelled from her own home. Her teacher (who has her own love story), persuades the McPherson brothers to take her in. Being men of few words they seem unlikely candidates for either love or literature, yet this might be misleading.

This is a novel of haunting beauty. It explores the hope and grace of every human life and mankind’s capacity for love.

 

Staff Pick By
Catherine