Best Book of the Week!
Since this is my post before Valentine’s Day, I’m trying to observe the day with a book about love. Kent Haruf, who passed away in 2014, was a great stylist. His prose is unbelievably spare, his tales about ordinary small-town people in eastern Colorado. When it was my turn to make a book club selection for the anniversary of his death, I picked Our Souls at Night, his last book.
Louis Waters is a lonely widower in Holt, the town where most of Haruf’s books are set. One day his neighbor Addie Moore stops by with a proposal. She would like Louis to come over and sleep with her at night, sleep and talk. She misses this intimacy since her husband died. He decides to agree.
Although Louis and Addie are not having a romantic relationship, at least not at first, that’s what the town thinks. Instead, they are simply lying together and talking over their lives. We learn, for example, that once Louis fell in love with another woman and briefly left his wife for her. Everyone in the town knows this, but Louis explains to Addie how he felt and why he returned to his wife.
Addie’s son Gene is having marital problems, so he asks Addie to take his young son Jamie for the summer. Soon Jamie grows to care for Louis, who adopts a dog for the boy to play with.
This is a quiet novel about loneliness, friendship, and love. Haruf said it has its roots in the conversations he had at night with his wife. Our Souls at Night is a lovely novel.