Justin Evans's Reviews > Plainsong

Plainsong by Kent Haruf
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Sep 20, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in September, 2011

I don't often rank things according to goodreads 'hate, dislike, okay, like, really like' scale. I think books should be rated as good or bad; sue me. But this one... this one I couldn't resist. I liked it, okay? Yes, it's simplistic, goodies and baddies are signposted more effectively than in your average Captain America strip. Yes, it's kind of a morality tale. Yes, it borders on the hopelessly romantic. Yes, there are more analogies in the first chapter than I would usually allow in any roman a fleuve, let alone single volume novel. Yes, it reads kind of like Cormac McCarthy if he was really happy and content, and honestly? That's really freaking weird.

But... sometimes you just want to read something that's nicely written, that suggests there's a reason to have faith in anything, that aims for easily comprehensible structure and prose rather than whatever the most recent literary theory might be. This book is Friday Night Lights without football, with the same simple yet believable claim: hell is only other people when you're already hellbound. People will still read this long after all the tricky theory stuff has been out of print for years. That's not an unquestionable good, but I suspect it's a fact.
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