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47 Reviews
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern American Writing at its best
Plainsong is a modern American classic that sits comfortably in the company of works by Steinbeck and Hemmingway through to Richard Ford. It is a simple story that captures effortlessly the day to day struggles of its principal characters set against a rugged landscape that is ever brooding in the background. The book avoids sentimentality as it carefully draws you...
Published on 31 Aug 2000

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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plain stuff
Kent Haruf's Plainsong reads like a collection of intertwined short stories more than a novel. I suppose the title emphasises simplicity, both in the writing and in the protagonists' destinies, as well as that plainsong is the music of several overlapping voices. Still, the technique is hardly revolutionary. And the problem with Haruf's novel is that only one of the...
Published on 17 Dec 2008 by reader 451


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern American Writing at its best, 31 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Plainsong (Hardcover)
Plainsong is a modern American classic that sits comfortably in the company of works by Steinbeck and Hemmingway through to Richard Ford. It is a simple story that captures effortlessly the day to day struggles of its principal characters set against a rugged landscape that is ever brooding in the background. The book avoids sentimentality as it carefully draws you closer to superbly drawn out characters. For lovers of modern American writing, this book is a must. You will not be disappointed.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty in simplicity, 18 Feb 2006
This review is from: Plainsong (Paperback)
If you want thrill, this is not the book for you. It does just what it suggests on the cover and the title - it is a layering together of simple stories in an ordinary way that in its ensemble makes a beautiful melody of the lives involved. This is a book of heart and soul told in a beautiful lyrical fashion. Sure the plot is thin and that's part of the beauty - everyday life isn't jampacked with adventure. Just let the words and the characters wash over you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down., 20 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Plainsong (Paperback)
I started reading this yesterday morning and finished it this morning. It is a 'must' read and throughly enjoyable.

Although it doesn't have a vast story, it deals mainly with two sets of brothers x 1 pair elderly, the others young.

A man whose wife is sick, through some sort of depression, with two sons she clearly loves but cannot live with. Her husband the schoolteacher who has problems of his own in the classroom as well as at home.

Two elderly men who take in a girl because she needs a home and grow to accept her and her situation and the girl herself who realises life's mistakes go hand in hand with kindness.

I loved the banter between the two older brothers and was sorry that the book ended. It really was a totally different read for me and I must say I loved it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 5 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Plainsong (Paperback)
Plainsong is quite simply a must read book. Although you can't buy his other novels in the UK order them in from .com as they even surpass this brilliant book. As other people have reviewed on the hardback this is a book that will make you laugh outloud in parts (and I mean outloud) and break your heart at the same time. This is masterful storytelling - you are in awe of it! This book deserves the same kind of success as Angela's Ashes and Memoirs of a Geisha - read it and like me press it onto every friend you have - they will thank you for it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a magical book you should read!, 12 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Plainsong (Paperback)
I loved this book - it made me laugh out loud, its beautifully written, poignant and wry. The only drawback was that it ended. If you like E Annie Proulx you should read this. And then you should go buy Kent Haruf's other novel, "Where You Once Belonged", which is also outstanding. He sure knows how to unravel a quirky story this man. Get to it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful piece of writing, 5 Jan 2001
This review is from: Plainsong (Paperback)
A truly compelling novel!It made me laugh, cry and experience every emotion in between. I loved the fact that he never explained more about the characters than absolutely necessary which for someone like me kept me alot more interested in each of them. I definitely think that it would be worth while reading this fantasatic novel!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read this year, 18 Mar 2001
This review is from: Plainsong (Paperback)
Kent Haruf has a style of writing that draws you into this book , I couldn't put it down.It was like watching a good movie.The characters were so real.I bought his other 2 books straight away on the strength of Plainsong.An inspiring Author who has become one of my favourites.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, painful, beautifully written - shockingly good writing throughout, 27 Aug 2014
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Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Plainsong (Plainsong 1) (Paperback)
This gentle and beautiful novel is one of a kind. It tells of the people of Holt, a small town in farming country. The story encompasses Guthrie, a schoolteacher and his two sons aged 9 and 10, Ike and Bobby. Also involved are the McPherons, two elderly men who protect a young girl who has been made pregnant by an out-of-towner, Victoria Roubideaux. There were moments when the beauty of the writing overwhelmed me. It is a gentle, pastoral community, but there are people within it for whom one feels an almost visceral dislike. The depiction of the boys’ childhood experiences are brilliantly handled. Their mother has withdrawn herself from the family and their naïve attempts to bring their mother back to them are heartbreaking without ever spilling over into melodrama.

Victoria’s problem is that she has fallen for the wrong man and her solution is highly individual as, after a period of taking the conventional route, she takes up residence with the McPherons, unworldly farmers who have limited lives by choice.

The experience of reading this beautiful book is profound. There were moments when I had to put the book down and think about what it was telling me. These coincided with moments of danger for Ike and Bobby, and moments of sheer terror which held me in thrall to the complex of problems faced by people. But this is a quiet book. It’s a book that demands to be read while it puts you through some uncomfortable moments. I cannot think of another book that has had such a sublime effect on me. I simply loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, 13 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Plainsong (Paperback)
This was a beautifully written book, intertwining the stories of the seven main characters. I felt empathy for each character and their particular place in the world and loved how each of their lives touched off each other in a positive and profound way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively Simple, 5 Jun 2013
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The different stories of the characters are told without emotion or over dramatic description. Each individual story ends up linking with another describing mundane incidents with such clarity that you keep reading just to find out how the different strands willl be bought together or indeed if they will. A snapshot of ordinary people's lives which ended without ceremony and without any final conclusions (slightly to my disappointment) but the book is nonetheless strangely satisfying.
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Plainsong (Plainsong 1)
Plainsong (Plainsong 1) by Kent Haruf (Paperback - 11 April 2013)
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