Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Eventide by Kent Haruf was originally published in 2004. My hardcover copy is 300 pages. Eventide is, in part, a continuation of the story in Plainsong. Plainsong is the better of the two novels, but Eventide helps complete the story of the McPherons and Victoria and gives the reader some closure. It also introduces some new characters in Holt: DJ Kephart, the boy who lives with his grandfather; Mary Wells and her two girls who live next door; the Wallaces, a disabled couple, and their two children; and Rose Tyler, a social worker. I thought that the character-titled chapters in Plainsong were more effective than the regular numbered chapters found in Eventide. Eventide has the same stark realism as Plainsong. Rating: 4

Synopsis from cover:
One of the most beloved novels in recent years, Plainsong was a best-seller from coast to coast -- and now Kent Haruf returns to the High Plains community of Holt, Colorado, with a story of even more masterful authority.

When the McPheron brothers see Victoria Roubideaux, the single mother they'd taken in, move from their ranch to begin college, an emptiness opens before them -- and for many other townspeople it also promises to be a long, hard winter. A young boy living alone with his grandfather helps out a neighbor whose husband, off in Alaska, suddenly isn't coming home, leaving her to raise their two daughters. At school the children of a disabled couple suffer indignities that their parents know all too well in their own lives, with only a social worker to look after them and a violent relative to endanger them further. But in a small town a great many people encounter one another frequently, often surprisingly, and destinies soon become entwined -- for good and for ill -- as they confront events that sorely test the limits of their resilience and means, with no refuge available except what their own character and that of others afford them.

Spring eventually does reach across the land, and how the people of Eventide get there makes for an engrossing, profoundly moving novel rich in the wisdom, humor, and humanity for which Kent Haruf is justly acclaimed.

"They came up from the horse barn in the slanted light of early morning. The McPheron brothers, Harold and Raymond. Old men approaching an old house at the end of summer." opening sentences

"We'll be about like old played-out work horses once you're gone. Standing around lonesome, always looking over the fence." pg. 6

"I'm not going to tell you again about this, the driver said. I've had it with you people. There's eighteen kids I got to pick up." pg. 11

"He was a small boy, underweight for his age, with thin arms and thin legs and brown hair that hung over his forehead. He was active and responsible, and too serious for a boy of eleven." pg. 18

"It was still hot outside, though the sun had begun to lean to the west, and the first intimations of fall were in the air - that smell of dust and dry leaves, that annual lonesomeness that comes of summer closing down." pg. 19

"At ten-thirty he cut the light out and fell asleep and in the morning he got up early to make their breakfast and afterward went to school across the tracks to the new building on the south side of Holt, and at school he did willingly and skillfully all that was required of him but didn't say much of anything to anybody throughout the day." pg. 23

"The man behind them shook his head at the checkout woman. Would you look at that. They're eating better than you and me and they're on food stamps." pg. 37

"You shouldn't be alone too much. I know what that's like, from when I was your age and later on in high school. This can be a hard place to be alone in. Well, I suppose any place is." pg. 105

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hmmm-- here are two books that seem like they might fit my mood. I feel a trip to the library coming...