United States of Books – Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Plainsong Plainsong

by Kent Haruf

Author: Teri at Sportochick’s Musings

My Review:

Plainsong takes place in the small town of Holt, Colorado and revolves around people within and around this town. At first it was a stretch for me to read the book, it is not my usual era or type of reading and I had a hard time getting into the story. The story does gain momentum the further you get into the book and draws the reader into all the little storylines going on at the same time.

The author does an outstanding job of character development indicative of the era and small town living. I found the characters to be abrupt, plain speaking, judgmental and matter of fact. It was so real that it brought to mind the tiny town I grew up in and how similar it was to this book

Every small town has drama and this storyline bounces back and forth between several dealing with hard hitting subjects like teenage pregnancy, farm life, and dysfunctional families. It is heart warming in its portrayal of the interwoven relationships this group of people form due to their personal situations.

This story is about real people and real lives. Not everyone will like it because some readers want to read feel good, entertain me, books but I recommend that you give it a try. You may learn something about yourself that you never knew.


A heartstrong story of family and romance, tribulation and tenacity, set on the High Plains east of Denver.

In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl—her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house—is pregnant, alone herself, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they’ve ever known.

From these unsettled lives emerges a vision of life, and of the town and landscape that bind them together—their fates somehow overcoming the powerful circumstances of place and station, their confusion, curiosity, dignity and humor intact and resonant. As the milieu widens to embrace fully four generations, Kent Haruf displays an emotional and aesthetic authority to rival the past masters of a classic American tradition.

Utterly true to the rhythms and patterns of life, Plainsong is a novel to care about, believe in, and learn from.


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