In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf's fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have long been aware of each other, if not exactly friends; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis's wife. His daughter, Holly, lives hours away in Colorado Springs; her son, Gene, even farther away in Grand Junction. What Addie has come to ask—since she and Louis have been living alone for so long in houses now empty of family, and the nights are so terribly lonely—is whether he might be willing to spend them with her, in her bed, so they can have someone to talk with.As the story progresses, Haruf's typical laconic prose pulls us into the arms of Addie and Louis as they negotiate their way through long buried feelings and share their past lives and adventures. The arrival of Addie's grandson, who is almost "dumped" by her son in the midst of his marital problems, brings an added layer of richness to the elders as they reminisce about raising their own children in earlier days.
In such a small town, it is inevitable that Louis' nightly comings and goings are noted and commented on. However, most residents adopt a "live and let live" attitude toward the unusual couple. It is only when Addie and Louis' grown children become horrified at their parents' immoral, shocking, and embarrassing behavior, and try to destroy the relationship, that the true melancholy of the loneliness of old age becomes apparent.
This is a short book, only 192 pages, but it is beautifully nuanced, and poignantly emotional. The reader wants it to go on for another 100 pages, but Haruf, in his evocative style, is able to bring the story to a well-paced conclusion, even though our hearts break to read it.
Like all the books he wrote that are set in Holt Colorado, this one is destined to be a classic. Whether you've read any of his earlier books (they can all stand alone) or this is your first, it will not disappoint.
Title: Our Souls at Night
Author: Kent Haruf
Publisher: Knopf (2015), Edition: First, 192 pages
Genre: literary fiction
Subject: aging, loneliness,
Source: Public library
Why did I read this book now? I love the author's works.