Book Review: Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Plainsong by Kent Haruf Title: Plainsong
Author: Kent Haruf
Publisher: Vintage Contemporaries
ISBN: 9780375705854
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 320
Source: Personal
Rating: 5/5

I first heard of “Plainsong” through “The Novel Cure” and since then I knew I would read it. “Plainsong” is one of those books that surpass all time and emotions and gets you involved very simply in it. There is so much to it. Kent Haruf writes like a dream and the plot in itself makes you somehow connect with everyone around you.

A lot of emotions got hold of me as I was reading this book. The book is based in Holt, a small town in Colorado in the United States of America. The time is unknown. The people of Holt lead quiet lives, with nothing happening of consequence. Till, each of the characters goes through phases of loneliness and abandonment in their own way and come together unexpectedly to find love and togetherness.

A pregnant high school girl, whose mother throws her out from the house. A lonely teacher, whose wife has left him and their two sons to themselves. The two sons’ beautiful interaction with an old woman – who is lonely and only wants some company. Two old bachelors, whose lives are going to change in ways they never imagined and all of these, are brought together by Maggie Jones – a teacher who knows how to communicate.

The concept of family need not be by blood. We all know that. Haruf brings it to life in Plainsong. The writing is full of grace and may even move you to tears. Well, at least I was moved to tears on more than one occasion. Perhaps this is the kind of book that is most needed in times such as these – when it takes so much to trust people. “Plainsong” makes you see the other side of life – the humane, the gentle, the subtle, and the understanding way of living and how the human connection is the strongest of them all.

“Plainsong” by the way refers to the unaccompanied church music sung in unison in medieval modes in free rhythm, which is exactly what the book is about. The sense of home, of community, of togetherness and the ways in which the heart heals.

This is a part of my “The Novel Cure Challenge” and its the first one. Next Up: True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. “Plainsong” was recommended to cure Abandonment and it sure does. It fills the heart with warmth and sunshine.

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