Day 849: Our Souls at Night

Cover for Our Souls at NightBest 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.

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15 thoughts on “Day 849: Our Souls at Night

  1. namelessneed February 12, 2016 / 12:01 pm

    loved this book/ liked yr recommendation/ thanx for spreading

    • whatmeread February 12, 2016 / 12:02 pm

      I think more people need to read Haruf.

  2. Naomi February 12, 2016 / 1:00 pm

    I’m so looking forward to this one. Last time I was at the library, I saw it just sitting there on the shelf, and I was so surprised to see it. I snatched it up and brought it home, and I’m hoping to get to it before it has to go back (it was unplanned, but it’s short, so I’m hopeful).

    • whatmeread February 12, 2016 / 1:05 pm

      Yes, it’s a very quick read. Good for Valentine’s Day!

  3. Cecilia February 12, 2016 / 4:56 pm

    I’ve never read Haruf and his name didn’t really register with me until I kept seeing this book recommended. I found and picked up Plainsong at a used bookstore last week and I’ve since put his other books on my TR list. I can’t wait to start reading him. I was sad to learn that he had died.

    • whatmeread February 14, 2016 / 12:36 pm

      I think you will love Plainsong.

  4. nicolaliteraryramblings February 13, 2016 / 1:21 am

    Thank you so much for this recommendation. This will be a new author for me, looking forward to discovering Haruf very much…

    • whatmeread February 14, 2016 / 12:37 pm

      He has written some very good novels.

  5. Cathy746books February 13, 2016 / 3:05 am

    I adore Haruf’s books. So still and beautiful.

    • Carolyn O February 16, 2016 / 4:53 pm

      Still! That’s the word I’ve been looking for to describe the feel of the book.

      • whatmeread February 16, 2016 / 5:09 pm

        Yes, perfect.

  6. Carolyn O February 16, 2016 / 4:53 pm

    I loved this book too (as you know). Lovely review.

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