Julie Christine's Reviews > Our Souls at Night

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
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it was amazing
bookshelves: best-of-2015, american-west, read-2015, usa-contemporary

Kent Haruf wrote Our Souls at Night under a death sentence. Despite knowing his life was coming to a sooner end than it should, or perhaps because of this, he created a story about finding love in the final chapter. Our Souls at Night is simply, profoundly, an exquisite homage to love. And it broke my heart. Because, the story. Because, there will be no more.

I read Our Souls at Night in one sitting and wept in the final pages. Even now, thinking of endings, of the ending of this book, the ending of an author I adore, I weep. I weep for aging bodies, for small, mean minds that do such damage, for the elderly, forgotten and alone. I weep for all the stories we will never witness. And I come full circle, to mourn a cherished voice silenced by disease and death. Kent Haruf is the author I take to other countries, pressing his name into the ears of readers not familiar with his work. "Plainsong," I say, "Eventide. Benediction. Purity. Wisdom. Grace. An American voice like no other."

And to this, I add the perfection of Our Souls at Night.

Addie Moore and Louis Waters are neighbors, familiar but not friends, in Haruf's conjured Holt, CO. In their 70s, they are both widowed and living alone with their fractured pasts. One day, Addie approaches Louis and asks if he would consider coming to her house occasionally, to share her bed.
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?

Yes. I think so, he says.
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.

My heart is so full of admiration and affection for Kent Haruf, his stories, his characters, his dry, dusty, flat eastern Colorado. I ache for what was, what will never be again. I am thankful for this final, perfect book—written for his wife and true love, Cathy—and her generosity in sharing it with her husband's readers. Kent, you are so missed. Thank you.
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Reading Progress

May 1, 2015 – Shelved
May 1, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
July 15, 2015 – Started Reading
July 15, 2015 – Shelved as: best-of-2015
July 15, 2015 – Shelved as: american-west
July 15, 2015 – Shelved as: read-2015
July 15, 2015 – Shelved as: usa-contemporary
July 15, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 134 (134 new)


Julie Christine Beautiful article in today's WSJ : Kent Haruf's last chapter: http://www.wsj.com/articles/kent-haru...


Julie Christine Oh my heart. Oh.


Cheryl This was such a heartfelt and lyrical review, especially that second paragraph, Julie. I can tell this book really moved you :)


Henry Le Nav Lovely review and very well written.


message 5: by Mij (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mij Woodward Appreciate your heart-felt review.


Angela M Great review , Julie . I love Haruf's writing and of course loved this book .


Diane Barnes This was a beautiful review.


Iris P Wonderful Julie, thanks :)


message 9: by Tom (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tom Mathews Great review. Kent will be missed, especially his ability to keep my home in dry, dusty, flat eastern Colorado alive for me long after I've left it.


Michael Perfect homage. On could wish for something longer to extend the experience, but it was just right the way it was.


Connie Julie, that was a lovely review and a warm tribute to one of our favorite authors.


Julie Christine Cheryl wrote: "This was such a heartfelt and lyrical review, especially that second paragraph, Julie. I can tell this book really moved you :)" Thank you, Cheryl. It is a beautiful read.


Julie Christine Henry wrote: "Lovely review and very well written." Henry, thank you.


Julie Christine Mij wrote: "Appreciate your heart-felt review."Thank you, Mij. He was such a treasure.


Julie Christine Angela M wrote: "Great review , Julie . I love Haruf's writing and of course loved this book ." Thank you, Angela. He is so missed!


Julie Christine Diane wrote: "This was a beautiful review."
Diane, thank you. I hope you enjoy the book.


Julie Christine Iris wrote: "Wonderful Julie, thanks :)" xoxo Iris


Julie Christine Tom wrote: "Great review. Kent will be missed, especially his ability to keep my home in dry, dusty, flat eastern Colorado alive for me long after I've left it."
He gave a near-forgotten place a voice. I had the pleasure of meeting him when we both lived in Illinois-both pining for Colorado.


Julie Christine Michael wrote: "Perfect homage. On could wish for something longer to extend the experience, but it was just right the way it was."Oh Michael, how kind. What a treasure of a writer, a man.


Julie Christine Connie wrote: "Julie, that was a lovely review and a warm tribute to one of our favorite authors." Thank you, Connie. He gave so much- quietly, unaffected-but with such generosity. A national treasure.


Carol Julie - I don't think anyone has paid tribute to this fine author with sweeter words than you just have. I too will miss him. He wrote so eloquently about the part of Colorado where I grew up.


message 22: by Esil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil Julie -- your review is so beautiful that it sent me right to my kindle to read the first few pages. I have never read anything by Haruf, but already I'm hooked. Now I have to put is aside, get through a work day and save it for the weekend. Great review as always!


message 23: by Suzy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Suzy Read just the opening paragraphs of your review, Julie, and I am completely sold! I also saw the WSJ review and put myself immediately on the waiting list for the audio. Still waiting :) I have not read Haruf, even though my Mom gave me Plainsong right after it was published. Sitting on my shelf all these 26 years. Eager to read that too. Thanks for your heartfelt enthusiasm of Haruf's writing.


message 24: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol I'm not reading any more reviews of this until I've read it. You'll hear from me then.


Julie Christine Carol wrote: "Julie - I don't think anyone has paid tribute to this fine author with sweeter words than you just have. I too will miss him. He wrote so eloquently about the part of Colorado where I grew up." Oh, Carol- thank you.


Julie Christine Esil wrote: "Julie -- your review is so beautiful that it sent me right to my kindle to read the first few pages. I have never read anything by Haruf, but already I'm hooked. Now I have to put is aside, get t..." Esil! This might be an odd one to start with, but I hope it compels you to read Haruf's earlier works. He makes sweet, tongue-in-cheek reference here to Plainsong, which was my introduction to his writing.


Julie Christine Suzy wrote: "Read just the opening paragraphs of your review, Julie, and I am completely sold! I also saw the WSJ review and put myself immediately on the waiting list for the audio. Still waiting :) I have not..." Suzy, I recommend starting with Plainsong and saving this for a quiet winter's day. This novel is really a coda to all that Haruf has written before. But no matter, it's at least as lovely as anything. I hope you enjoy!


Julie Christine Carol wrote: "I'm not reading any more reviews of this until I've read it. You'll hear from me then."
I look forward to it, Carol.


message 29: by Vivian (new) - added it

Vivian Have to read it, now...this sounds like just my type of story!


Debbie "DJ" What a beautiful review. No doubt about it, am reading next. Thanks Julie :)


Julie Christine Vivian wrote: "Have to read it, now...this sounds like just my type of story!" I think you'll love it, Vivian.


Julie Christine Debbie "DJ" wrote: "What a beautiful review. No doubt about it, am reading next. Thanks Julie :)"
Oh, thank you, my friend. No better tribute to Kent Haruf than to see his work live on in readers' hearts.


Debbie "DJ" This is my first read of his Julie. Any others you recommend?


message 34: by Michael (new)

Michael Pattwell Great review, Julie. Never heard of Haruf until you mentioned him. Now my next task is to purchase Our Souls at Night. The Book Depository, here I come.


Julie Christine Debbie "DJ" wrote: "This is my first read of his Julie. Any others you recommend?" Debbie, Plainsong. I haven't read his first, The Tie That Binds, or I'd say start there, but for me, it all started with Plainsong. The others which follow are loosely tied to Plainsong, even if only because they are all set in Holt, CO.


message 36: by Helen (new)

Helen Stanton Loved this


message 37: by Claire (new) - added it

Claire McAlpine So have to read this - and - all his others! LOve that this is one of your authors you recommend to others Julie, that's high and worthy praise indeed.


message 38: by Claire (new) - added it

Claire McAlpine I just read that beautiful WSJ article, achingly moving.


Melanie Lovely review. Perfectly captured.


message 40: by Suzy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Suzy Julie wrote: "Suzy wrote: "Read just the opening paragraphs of your review, Julie, and I am completely sold! I also saw the WSJ review and put myself immediately on the waiting list for the audio. Still waiting ..."

Thanks for your rec of reading order. Will do!


Betsy Robinson You spoke for me in your review. Thank you.


message 42: by Michael (new)

Michael Pattwell On your recommendation, Julie, I bought "Our Souls at Night". I started it this morning - had to attend my grandsons Christening and celebration for the afternoon and evening - then rushed back to finish the story. I'm overwhelmed by the writing but doubly heartbroken; heartbroken for Addie and Louis ( who could be me - retired, alone and over 70) as well as heartbroken because this author, unknown to me until you told me about him, will write no more. At least for now, having read "The Tie that Binds" yesterday, I have four more books to read before I will have to mourn for Kent Haruf. Thank you, Julie, for the introduction.


Julie Christine Michael wrote: "On your recommendation, Julie, I bought "Our Souls at Night". I started it this morning - had to attend my grandsons Christening and celebration for the afternoon and evening - then rushed back to ..."

Michael. I knew within a few pages of this novel that I would want for you to read it. I don't know when I've felt such grief over a writer's passing, knowing he, like Heaney, still had so much more to give us.

Blessings to your grandson. I'm so glad to know you are embraced by the love of your family.


Julie Christine Betsy wrote: "You spoke for me in your review. Thank you." And yours moved me so much, Betsy. Thank you.


message 45: by Joyce (new) - added it

Joyce Julie, your review and tribute to Kent Haruf are beautiful, touching and inspirational.


message 46: by Mona (new) - added it

Mona Lovely and heartfelt review. I will have to read this.


message 47: by Joan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joan Julie, THANK YOU for nudging me to read Kent Haruf by this wonderful review. I decided to start with Plainsong, which I adored so much that I read Eventide right on its heels. Now about to start Benediction. I am in awe of the way he effortlessly draws his characters so that the reader feels as if they are long-time friends. I am already missing the McPheron brothers, two of my favorite characters in recent memory. Thank you again for your fabulous reviews which have opened doors to new reading experiences!


Carol Joan wrote: "Julie, THANK YOU for nudging me to read Kent Haruf by this wonderful review. I decided to start with Plainsong, which I adored so much that I read Eventide right on its heels. Now about to start Be..."

Ditto what you just just said, Joan! I grew up in this area and elements of his stories reflect my own early life and provoke deep reflections for days after finishing his novels.


message 49: by Ani (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ani Julie, this review is just wonderful! I just finished reading, "Our Souls at Night," my first encounter with Kent Haruf's work, and surely not my last. I did not know until I was reading the work that he had died. Your review of this novel and his body of work is stunning. Thank you!


message 50: by Ani (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ani PS. Wonder how to share your review with others--even on FB? I will poke around here on Goodreads when i have more time and try to figure that out.


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