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From the unsettled lives of a small-town teacher struggling to raise two boys alone in the face of their mother's retreat from life, a pregnant teenage girl with nowhere to go, and two elderly bachelor farmers emerges a new vision of life and family as their diverse destinies intertwine. 200,000 first printing.
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Plainsong, according to Kent Haruf's epigraph, is "any simple and unadorned melody or air." It's a perfect description of this lovely, rough-edged book, set on the very edge of the Colorado plains. Tom Guthrie is a high school teacher whose wife can't--or won't--get out of bed; the McPherons are two bachelor brothers who know little about the world beyond their farm gate; Victoria Roubideaux is a pregnant 17-year-old with no place to turn. Their lives parallel each other in much the same way any small-town lives would--until Maggie Jones, another teacher, makes them intersect. Even as she tries to draw Guthrie out of his black cloud, she sends Victoria to live with the two elderly McPheron brothers, who know far more about cattle than about teenage girls. Trying to console her when she think she's hurt her baby, the best lie they can come up with is this: "I knew of a heifer we had one time that was carrying a calf, and she got a length of fencewire down her some way and it never hurt her or the calf."
Holt, Colorado, is the kind of small town where everyone knows everyone's business before that business even happens. In a way, that's true of the book, too. There's not a lot of suspense here, plot wise; you can see each narrative twist and turn coming several miles down the pike. What Plainsong has instead is note-perfect dialogue, surrounded by prose that's straightforward yet rich in particulars: "a woman walking a white lapdog on a piece of ribbon" glimpsed from a car window; the boys' mother, her face "as pale as schoolhouse chalk"; the smells of hay and manure, the variations of prairie light. Even the novel's larger questions are sized to a domestic scale. Will Guthrie find love? Will Victoria run away with the father of her baby? Will the McPherons learn to hold a conversation? But in this case, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and Plainsong manages to capture nothing less than an entire world--fencing pliers, calf-pullers, and all. Kent Haruf has a gorgeous ear, and a knack for rendering the simple complex. --Mary ParkReview:
‘Perfectly formed, beautifully executed’ Mariella Frostrup
‘Beautifully crafted, alive and quietly magnificent. I read it in one mesmerising sitting. I had no choice; it wouldn't let me go’ Roddy Doyle
‘Plainsong is nothing short of a revelation. I don't expect to read a better novel this year. Or next, for that matter.’ Richard Russo
‘So delicate and lovely that it has the power to exalt the reader’ New York Times
‘Satisfying and warm, Plainsong is as purehearted a novel as they come’ Austin Chronicle
‘Plainsong becomes a story of mythic proportion, and not just a story about a small town in the American West, but a story of universal concern. Our story’ Boston Review
‘I’ve had the delightful experience once again of becoming so absorbed in a book that I couldn’t have slowed down if I
tried. The book is Kent Haruf ’s Plainsong, the most controlled, cohesive novel I’ve come across in a long time. By this I mean that its various elements – character, setting, plot, language, even the names, even the title – all add up to a work as flawlessly unified as a short story by Poe or Chekhov . . . At certain points I was horrified by the austerity of the isolated lives in this story, and yet on every page I savoured the beauty of the telling’ Chicago Tribune
‘Holt, Colorado, a tiny prairie community near Denver, is both the setting for and the psychological matrix of Haruf ’s beautifully executed new novel . . . Walking a tightrope of restrained design, Haruf steers clear of sentimentality and melodrama while constructing a taut narrative in which revelations of character and rising emotional tensions are held in
perfect balance. This is a compelling story of grief, bereavement, loneliness and anger, but also of kindness, benevolence, love and the making of a strange new family’ Publishers Weekly
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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, 1999. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0375406182
Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, 1999. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition, 7th Printing. BRAND NEW Copy. This is the 7th Printing, also of 1999. A contemporary novel set once again in the town of Holt in eastern Colorado by native-son and award winning author Kent Haruf (1943 - ). The happenings are not all that unusual . a highschool teacher raising two sons on his own, a pregnant and now homeless teenage girl, and two bachelor, farmer brothers find their lives interwined . but the very rhythm and dignity of their way of life is a song to humanity. Seller Inventory # 007884
Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0375406182
Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110375406182
Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0375406182 Dispatched from London. Seller Inventory # Z0375406182ZN
Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st - may be Reissue. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0375406182n
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # M-0375406182