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179 pages, Hardcover
First published May 26, 2015
I’m talking about getting through the night, she says. And lying warm in bed, companionably. Lying down in bed together and you staying the night. The nights are the worst. Don’t you think?That's all you really need to know about the plot. What follows is achingly beautiful and gracious and solemn; a meditation on living in the present, a requiem to the held hand.
Yes. I think so, he says.
And then there was the day when Addie Moore made a call on Louis Waters.Louis and Addie are both getting on, in their 70s, Louis having lost his wife a year back, Addie a widow for some time. Both are lonely and could do with some company. While they have known each other for a long time, they have never been close. Acquaintances more than friends. Until Addie suggests that it would be a great help, given her trouble sleeping, if Louis would consent to sleep with her, not hide-the-salami sleep together, but sleep, and talk, in the same bed, overnight, companionship. Louis decides to give it a try.
in the very next house, there is this 8-year-old girl who is the representative of hope and promise and youth and joy. And so what I am wanting people to feel is that the beginning and the ending in all of our lives are set side-by-side. They are not distinct from one another.The same could very well be applied here, connecting the lives of folks at both ends of their mortality. Haruf had been hoping to get to the January 2015 premier of the Denver Center production of a theater version of his novel Benediction.
Kent Haruf: … I will tell you there is a reference to the play Benediction in this new book. It's something these two old people have a little comment about.He sets his tale in Holt, Colorado, a place that will be familiar to readers of his earlier work. In another meta moment, his characters refer to the location in reference to seeing a play of a Kent Haruf story! (not Benediction) as a way of letting readers know about his usual locale
John Moore: That's part of the fun of reading of your stories. Even in Benediction, which features all new characters, there are those small references that reward those people who have been with you from the beginning.
Kent Haruf: It does. And it was a chance for me to have a little fun. Exactly as you say, people who know these other stories will immediately recognize what I am talking about.
he took the physical details from Holt, the place names of the streets and what the country looks like and the location of things, but it’s not this town. And it’s not anybody in this town. All that’s made up.Well, of course Holt is fictitious but Haruf is making sure readers do not assign the place entirely to a single real location. I guess he wanted to clear that up before he left us.
as a writer, I want to be thought of as somebody who had a very small talent but worked as best he could at using that talent. I want to think that I have written as close to the bone as I could. By that I mean that I was trying to get down to the fundamental, irreducible structure of life, and of our lives with one another. - from the Denver Center interviewI would disagree about the dimensions of his talent, but there is no question that Kent Haruf has offered the readers a world-view that may be bare bones in its form, but which is glorious in its realization.
The idea for the book has been floating around in my mind for quite a while. Now that I know I have, you know—a limited time—it was important to me to try to make good use of that time. So I went out there every day. Typically, I have always had a story pretty well plotted out before I start writing. This time I knew generally where the story was going, but I didn’t know very many of the details. So as it happened, I went out every day trusting myself to be able to add to the story each day. So I essentially wrote a new short chapter of the book every day. I’ve never had that experience before. I don’t want to get too fancy about it, but it was like something else was working to help me get this done. Call it a muse or spiritual guidance, I don’t know. All I know is that the trust I had in being able to write every day was helpful.”There is more info to be had on Haruf from wikipedia and Barnes and Noble
I mean we’re both alone. We’ve been by ourselves for too long. For years. I’m lonely. I think you might be too. I wonder if you would come and sleep in the night with me. And talk.
He stared at her, watching her, curious now, cautious.
You don’t say anything. Have I taken your breath away? she said.
I guess you have.
I’m not talking about sex.
No, not sex. I’m not looking at it that way. I think I’ve lost any sexual impulse a long time ago. I’m talking about getting through the night. And lying warm in bed, companionably. Lying down in bed together and you staying the night. The nights are the worst. Don’t you think?
Yes. I think so.
And then there was the day when Addie Moore made a call on Louis Waters. It was an evening in May just before full dark.
I’ve come to believe in some kind of afterlife. A return to our true selves, a spirit self. We’re just in this physical body till we go back to spirit.
I know what I think of you and how much you mean to me. But I can’t get it in my head that I mean anything like the same to you.
Who would have thought at this time in our lives that we’d still have something like this. That it turns out we’re not finished with changes and excitements. And not all dried up in body and spirit.
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky...
~~ From The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
by T. S. Eliot, 1888 - 1965