Knopf Doubleday: 5/26/2015
eBook review copy, 192 pages
hardcover ISBN-13: 9781101875896
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf is a beautifully written, very highly recommended novel about two seniors finding companionship and friendship with each other.
Set in Haruf’s fictional Holt, Colorado, it opens with:
"And then there was the day when Addie Moore made a call on Louis Waters. It was an evening in May just before full dark. They lived a block apart on Cedar Street in the oldest part of town with elm trees and hackberry and a single maple grown up along the curb and green lawns running back from the sidewalk to the two-story houses."
Addie and Louis have known each other for decades. They are both in their 70's and lost their spouses years ago. Addie is calling Louis to ask if he would consider coming to her house sometimes to sleep with her. Not for sex. She is "talking about getting through the night. And lying warm in bed, companionably. Lying down in bed together and you staying the night. The nights are the worst." She thinks she "could sleep again if there were someone else in bed with me. Someone nice. The closeness of that. Talking in the night, in the dark." They both understand her offer, and what it means, as they both take pills to help them sleep now and then end up staying up too late reading anyway and wake up groggy. The companionship is the key to helping them both get through the long, lonely nights.
Though he is nervous, Louis takes her up on the offer and their friendship - and the small town gossip - begins. While they try to ignore the talk about their affair, it really means friendship for them both and having someone to talk about their life with, mull over the past with an amicable listener. Addie has a surviving son in Grand Junction and Louis a daughter in Colorado Springs, but neither is there, available to talk. As the gossip flies around town, the word of their "affair" gets back to their son and daughter, neither is pleased about their arrangement.
This is an impressive novel that, despite its diminutive size, is poignant, engaging, and heartbreaking. The writing is simply incredible. In Our Souls at Night writer Kent Haruf has left the world a wonderful final contribution to his body of work.