Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

Our souls at Night

My great thanks to Kate Green at Macmillan for providing a review copy of ‘Our Souls at Night’ which will be released in hardback by Picador on 4th June 2015.

On the back of my copy Peter Carey is quoted as saying ‘If you have never entered his beautiful singing sentences, I envy you your first time’. I completely agree. ‘Our Souls at Night’ arrived this morning and I thought I would just read the opening paragraph to get a feel for it. I was completely mesmerised by Kent Haruf’s style and just a few hours later I’ve finished what is a beautiful, poignant and moving book.

There is little real plot to ‘Our Souls at Night’. Two lonely neighbours, Addie Moore and Louis Waters, live in the small town of Holt, Colorado. Both find solace in one another’s company as they spend their nights together chatting. Their lives are further enhanced when Jamie, Addie’s grandson, comes to stay.

The book is a series of unpunctuated conversations between Addie and Louis through which, in just a few short chapters, the whole panoply of human emotion is revealed. It is like eavesdropping on the intimate conversations of two people about whom we care deeply.We get a real feel for small town America with its nosy gossip about others’ lives. We understand the complex relationships within marriage, family and friendship and we abhor the behaviour of Gene and Holly as they try to destroy Addie and Louis’ new found happiness through their own prejudices. ‘Our Souls at Night’ restates for us what it means to have humanity through its gentle prose.

I have not read any of Kent Haruf’s work before but will ensure I read every one of them so that I can re-encounter the economical eloquence of this haunting writer who appears to touch the souls of readers as well as those of Addie and Louis. I usually pass on books I’ve read. I’ll be keeping this one.

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