Claudia Putnam's Reviews > Our Souls at Night

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
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it was amazing
bookshelves: literary-fiction
Read 2 times. Last read June 2, 2015 to June 6, 2015.

This is really "just" a four star book, like all his other books, but I am giving it five for sentimental reasons. It's the last of his we'll ever have. Sue me.

Like Larry Watson, Haruf is a master of dialogue. He doesn't use quotes and he rarely uses tags or gesture, and most of the book is dialogue and yet you always know who is speaking and you get a full view of the characters from how they talk. That is really fricking hard to do.

Our souls at night are often restless and scared. Which is why the widow Addie Moore, in her seventies, walks a couple of houses down to ask the widower Louis Waters to come sleep with her. To lie there beside her in the dark and talk and sleep. Not to have sex, though we imagine they eventually might try. Their neighbors imagine there will be no eventually about it, as do their grown children. After a while, a grandchild arrives, traumatized by this parents' marriage problems, and his nightly unrest enters the picture, as do memories of other wakefulnesses--Addie's killed child, and the way her marriage and her and her husband's subsequent parenting were damaged by that. And how that might have affected what her son does next in the novel. And Louis's daughter, too, is left wakeful at the thought of the town's turmoils about what she imagines as her father's late-life shenanigans with the widow Addie.

Mid-life children are so narcissistic, worse than we were when we were actual children. We need our parents to be just-so, so that we can get on with our own adult problems, destroying our own marriages, damaging our own children. We don't have time for them to have lives of their own, we can't be bothered with considering their inner lives, just as we can't be bothered, much, with considering the inner lives of our children (though outwardly we like for our children to have what they need--good schools, and soccer practice, and violin, and no pedophiles in the neighborhood, and therapy if necessary, and we assume that this means their inner needs are taken care of). In our thirties and forties it's the time for US and our own dramas, our affairs and such, much as Addie and Louis recount to one another.

Our souls at night are not at their best. They are not composed and they are not reposing. Our souls at night are very fearful.

Our souls at night come back to haunt us. Addie was worried about this, and that was why she sought Louis's company.

Yes, I thought this book could have used one more pass by Haruf, and maybe by his editor as well, but Haruf ran out of time, and I imagine the publisher was eager to get this into our hands.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading (Paperback Edition)
March 25, 2015 – Shelved
March 25, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
June 2, 2015 – Started Reading
June 6, 2015 – Shelved as: literary-fiction
June 6, 2015 – Finished Reading
November 26, 2016 – Shelved (Paperback Edition)

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