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Benediction (Plainsong Series Book 3) by [Haruf, Kent]
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Benediction (Plainsong Series Book 3) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Review

His finest-tuned tale yet. . . . There is a deep, satisfying music to this book, as Haruf weaves between such a large cast of characters in so small a space. . . .Strangely, wonderfully, the moment of a man's passing can be a blessing in the way it brings people together.Benediction recreates this powerful moment so gracefully it is easy to forget that, like [the town of]Holt, it is a world created by one man. John Freeman, The Boston Globe
"A quiet and profound statement about endings, about change and death and endurance, and about the courage it takes to finally let go. . . . What's remarkable is Haruf's ability, once again, to square quotidian events with what it means to be alive and bound in ordinary pleasure with ordinary people [with] a matter-of-fact tone, with spare declarative sentences and plain-speak among the characters that is, in its bare-bones clarity, often heartbreakingly authentic." Debra Gwartney, The Oregonian

What Haruf makes of this patch of ground is magic [and] Benediction spreads its blessing over the entire town. Haruf isn t interested in evil so much as the frailties that defeat us loneliness, a failure to connect with one another, the lack of courage to change. . . . [He] makes us admire his characters ability not only to carry on but also to enjoy simple pleasures. Dan Cryer, San Francisco Chronicle

We ve waited a long time for an invitation back to Holt, home to Kent Haruf s novels. . . He may be the most muted master in American fiction [and] Benediction seems designed to catch the sound of those fleeting good moments [with] scenes Hemingway might have written had he survived. Ron Charles, Washington Post

"A lovely book, surprisingly rich in character and event without any sense of being crowded. . . . Haruf is a master in summing up the drama that already exists in life, if you just pay attention." Harper Barnes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Absorbing [and] evocative. . . . Haruf doesn t offer us any facile reconciliations.The blessings in Benediction are [not] easily won. For that very reason they are all the more believable and all the more unforgettable. Richard Wakefield, The Seattle Times
"Splendid. . . . As the expertly crafted structure of Benediction emerges, it becomes clear that [Haruf's many] characters trace the arc of a life. . . as we join [a good but flawed man] in his deepening appreciation for those around him, while counting down the remaining hours, in his life and our own." Mike Fischer, Portland Press Herald

Remarkable. . . . Haruf paints indelible portraits of drifting days that reveal unexpected blessings. . . . We may not always recognize the best moments maybe because they are often as simple as eating off the good china at a backyard picnic but he understands their power to make us human. Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald
"Itself a blessing. . . spare and unencumbered. . . . Haruf's great skill is in describing the plain ways of people who live in small places [and the war] going on between good and evil that we recognize as part of our nature. This is what makes Benediction a universal story, not a hometown tale." Michael D. Langan, The Buffalo News
Quiet, and intimate, and beautiful. Lisa McLendon, The Wichita Eagle
If Hemingway had had more soul, he would've written a book like Benediction. Emma Broder, The Chicago Maroon
"Incisive, elegiac, and rhetorically rich. . . his finest expression yet of an aesthetic vision that, in spite of its exacting verisimilitude, achieves a mythic dimension rare in contemporary fiction. . . . Haruf's art is rigorous but transparent. Scene after scene, we appreciate that we are in the hands of a master of complex storytelling disguised as simple observation. . . . Reading [him], I am often reminded of the great Russian realists, who have a similar compressed intensity and who spent much of their writing time examining the lives of ordinary people living in small communities in wide-open spaces." Kevin Stevens, The Dublin Review of Books
Benediction suggests there s no end to the stories Haruf can tell about Holt or to the tough, gorgeous language he can summon in the process. Paul Elie, The New York Times Book Review
Haruf is the master of what one of his characters calls 'the precious ordinary'. . . . With understated language and startling emotional insight, he makes you feel awe at even the most basic of human gestures. Ben Goldstein, Esquire
Grace and restraint are abiding virtues in Haruf's fiction, and they resume their place of privilege in his new work. . . . For readers looking for the rewards of an intimate, meditative story, it is indeed a blessing. Karen R. Long, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Haruf is maguslike in his gifts. . . to illuminate the inevitable ways in which tributary lives meander toward confluence. . . . Perhaps not since Hemingway has an American author triggered such reader empathy with so little reliance on the subjectivity of his characters. . . . [This] is a modestly wrought wonder from one of our finest living writers. Bruce Machart, The Houston Chronicle

Both sad and surprisingly uplifting in its honest and skillful examination of death, families and friendship. Jason Swensen, Deseret News
As Haruf's precise details accrue, a reader gains perspective: This is the story of a man's life, and the town where he spent it, and the people who try to ease its end. . . . His sentences have the elegance of Hemingway's early work [and his] determined realism, which admits that not all of our past actions or the reasons behind them are knowable, even to ourselves, is one of the book's satisfactions. John Reimringer, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Reverberant From the terroir and populace of his native American West, the author of Plainsong and Eventide again draws a story elegant in its simple telling and remarkable in its authentic capture of universal human emotions. Brad Hooper, Booklist"

"His finest-tuned tale yet. . . . There is a deep, satisfying music to this book, as Haruf weaves between such a large cast of characters in so small a space. . . . Strangely, wonderfully, the moment of a man's passing can be a blessing in the way it brings people together. Benediction recreates this powerful moment so gracefully it is easy to forget that, like [the town of] Holt, it is a world created by one man." --John Freeman, The Boston Globe
"A quiet and profound statement about endings, about change and death and endurance, and about the courage it takes to finally let go. . . . What's remarkable is Haruf's ability, once again, to square quotidian events with what it means to be alive and bound in ordinary pleasure with ordinary people [with] a matter-of-fact tone, with spare declarative sentences and plain-speak among the characters that is, in its bare-bones clarity, often heartbreakingly authentic." --Debra Gwartney, The Oregonian

"What Haruf makes of this patch of ground is magic [and] Benediction spreads its blessing over the entire town. Haruf isn't interested in evil so much as the frailties that defeat us - loneliness, a failure to connect with one another, the lack of courage to change. . . . [He] makes us admire his characters' ability not only to carry on but also to enjoy simple pleasures." --Dan Cryer, San Francisco Chronicle

"We've waited a long time for an invitation back to Holt, home to Kent Haruf's novels. . . He may be the most muted master in American fiction [and] Benediction seems designed to catch the sound of those fleeting good moments [with] scenes Hemingway might have written had he survived." --Ron Charles, Washington Post

"A lovely book, surprisingly rich in character and event without any sense of being crowded. . . . Haruf is a master in summing up the drama that already exists in life, if you just pay attention." --Harper Barnes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Absorbing [and] evocative. . . . Haruf doesn't offer us any facile reconciliations. The blessings in Benediction are [not] easily won. For that very reason they are all the more believable and all the more unforgettable." - Richard Wakefield, The Seattle Times
"Splendid. . . . As the expertly crafted structure of Benediction emerges, it becomes clear that [Haruf's many] characters trace the arc of a life. . . as we join [a good but flawed man] in his deepening appreciation for those around him, while counting down the remaining hours, in his life and our own." --Mike Fischer, Portland Press Herald

"Remarkable. . . . Haruf paints indelible portraits of drifting days that reveal unexpected blessings. . . . We may not always recognize the best moments--maybe because they are often as simple as eating off the good china at a backyard picnic--but he understands their power to make us human." --Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald
"Itself a blessing. . . spare and unencumbered. . . . Haruf's great skill is in describing the plain ways of people who live in small places [and the war] going on between good and evil that we recognize as part of our nature. This is what makes Benediction a universal story, not a hometown tale." --Michael D. Langan, The Buffalo News
"Quiet, and intimate, and beautiful." --Lisa McLendon, The Wichita Eagle
"If Hemingway had had more soul, he would've written a book like Benediction." --Emma Broder, The Chicago Maroon
"Incisive, elegiac, and rhetorically rich. . . his finest expression yet of an aesthetic vision that, in spite of its exacting verisimilitude, achieves a mythic dimension rare in contemporary fiction. . . . Haruf's art is rigorous but transparent. Scene after scene, we appreciate that we are in the hands of a master of complex storytelling disguised as simple observation. . . . Reading [him], I am often reminded of the great Russian realists, who have a similar compressed intensity and who spent much of their writing time examining the lives of ordinary people living in small communities in wide-open spaces." --Kevin Stevens, The Dublin Review of Books
"Benediction suggests there's no end to the stories Haruf can tell about Holt or to the tough, gorgeous language he can summon in the process." --Paul Elie, The New York Times Book Review
"Haruf is the master of what one of his characters calls 'the precious ordinary'. . . . With understated language and startling emotional insight, he makes you feel awe at even the most basic of human gestures." --Ben Goldstein, Esquire
"Grace and restraint are abiding virtues in Haruf's fiction, and they resume their place of privilege in his new work. . . . For readers looking for the rewards of an intimate, meditative story, it is indeed a blessing." --Karen R. Long, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Haruf is maguslike in his gifts. . . to illuminate the inevitable ways in which tributary lives meander toward confluence. . . . Perhaps not since Hemingway has an American author triggered such reader empathy with so little reliance on the subjectivity of his characters. . . . [This] is a modestly wrought wonder from one of our finest living writers." --Bruce Machart, The Houston Chronicle

"Both sad and surprisingly uplifting in its honest and skillful examination of death, families and friendship." --Jason Swensen, Deseret News
"As Haruf's precise details accrue, a reader gains perspective: This is the story of a man's life, and the town where he spent it, and the people who try to ease its end. . . . His sentences have the elegance of Hemingway's early work [and his] determined realism, which admits that not all of our past actions or the reasons behind them are knowable, even to ourselves, is one of the book's satisfactions." --John Reimringer, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Reverberant... From the terroir and populace of his native American West, the author of Plainsong and Eventide again draws a story elegant in its simple telling and remarkable in its authentic capture of universal human emotions." - Brad Hooper, Booklist

Book Description

SHORTLISTED FOR THE FOLIO PRIZE.

Following the astonishing Plainsong and Eventide, this is Haruf's third novel set in the imaginary landscape of Holt, Colorado.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1085 KB
  • Print Length: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (11 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447227549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447227540
  • ASIN: B00BUOA2AI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,379 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a novel where very little happens. There are no wars, no gunfights, no sex scenes, no murders or robberies or explosions, physical or emotional. But there is a quiet summer afternoon swimming in the water tower. There is the hesitant farewell visit by old employees of Dad's store. There are church services, temporarily lost children, disappointed faces. There are women and men, all equally well-drawn, all equally created with sensitivity, wisdom and humour. This is a novel of real lives truly lived in a fictional America which is more real in the consciousness of Americans than the one that really does exist. I think of Haruf's novels as portrayals of the tranquil majesty of regular lives. There is such truth in his voice, such beauty in his words that I find myself getting quite emotional just thinking about it.

Benediction completes a trilogy which is, I believe, one of the great creations of contemporary American fiction. I don't think there's much more I can say about it than that.
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In this one particular long, hot summer in Holt, Colorado, this novel tells of seventy seven year old Dad Lewis who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Looked after tenderly by his adoring wife and loyal daughter this novel reveals his thoughts, regrets, heartbreak and memories of his life, in particular his estrangement from his gay son who left home as soon as he possibly could and whom his family hasn’t seen for years, so great was the family rift. Ghosts from his past also visit his dreams as he searches for resolutions and peace from past mistakes and decisions he has lived to regret.

He endures visits from neighbours, friends, his employees, the local pastor, the hospice nurse; all gathering around his deathbed to offer their support, affection, compassion, goodbyes and friendship. But, although the subject of impending death is unquestionably sad, this novel rises above that, and, by the addition of other new characters, examines the joy and hope that Daisy, the young grandchild of Dad Lewis’ neighbour brings to the wider community with her fresh young experiences. Another character new to the neighbourhood is Reverend Rob Lyle, who has a crisis within his ministry and is also dealing with a very troubled son and deeply unhappy wife, whilst experiencing problems within his congregation. Humour is injected into scenes as well, which lightens such a dark and sad story.

This is the third and final novel in the evocative and wonderful Plainsong trilogy.
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By Mr. D. L. Rees TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In Holt, Colorado, 77 year old hardware store owner Dad Lewis is dying. Now is the time for final visits to local places that mean so much to him; a time to reconsider key moments in his life, a time to ensure all is sorted. A time too for regrets, hallucinations increasing as the end draws near. Loyal wife Mary, herself frail, tends his needs, as does daughter Lorraine. Neighbours rally round. Noticeably absent is estranged son Frank. Exactly what happened all those years ago?

So many characters are vividly portrayed with words used sparingly, their lives and aspirations laid bare. Amongst them is preacher Lyle, himself at a turning point. Congregations have been outraged when reminded what Christ's teaching means in practical terms. They want rid.

I know nothing of Kent Haruf's earlier work, an omission clearly needing to be remedied. Here is a tale evocatively told and hauntingly sad, the style direct and totally involving. We are intimately present at a dying and a death - only to be reminded that this, at the time so important, is but a very minor matter in the overall scheme of things.

The ordinary has been pinpointed and elevated into something special.
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By Alexander Bryce TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
And that's pretty damn good. I have been waiting for a few years for this one and it has been well worth the wait. In his beloved small Colorado home town Dad Lewis is dying. Dad the local hardwear store owner is respected with great affection by fellow citizens and as his light fades he recalls sometimes to himself and sometimes with his loving wife of many years and his adult daughter episdodes of a decent well lived life. He was no saint, just an average guy making the most of the hand he had been dealt. As his wife, daughter and close friends do all that they can to make his final days comfortable and happy, there is always a dark cloud over him as he ponders the estrangement of their only son, whose only crime was being gay in a less enlightened time. Could he, a kind man, who helped many have done more for his son. In his last few days as he puts the final touches to his affairs, this thought haunts him. If they could find him would he want to see his dying father. As he nears his end we wonder: will we meet this now middle aged man and will there be forgiveness all round ?
Perhaps I have made this sound totally gloomy and sad, but it is not. There are plenty light hearted passages like the three generations of "girls" deciding on a sweltering hot day to strip naked and go skinning dipping in the cattle water tank. We also get glimpses of family life behind closed doors as the preacher and his wife struggle to hold their marriage together, not helped by the love life of their teenage son. The town turns on the Rev. Rob Lyle as his honest preaching rocks their comfortable boat. He is sacked, but Dad Lewis true to his principles to the end demands that he takes his funeral and if no church will allow in the Rev. Lyle then the services will be in the Lewis garden.
No one captures the humanity of ordinary people better than Kent Haruf. He writes with a beautiful economical style which again captivated me from page one.
Buy it and you are in for a rare treat.
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