Our Souls at Night – Kent Haruf

Our Souls at Night is the last book written by American author Kent Haruf before he died. Unfortunately, the book was only published after the author’s death. It is an excellent last book, but it made me very sad thinking of its subject.


Our Souls at Night tells the story of Addie and Louis. Addie is a single woman who lost her husband years ago, and her child lives far away. Louis is one of Addie’s neighbours. He also lost his wife years ago, and his child is quite far away. One day, Addie knocks on Louis’ door and asks if he wants to spend the nights with her. Although Louis is surprised by this very interesting offer, he accepts.

These two, who live in a small town, become the town’s gossip after a while after they realize their plans. But instead of intimidating them, this liberates them even more, and they walk arm in arm and go to dinner for everyone in town to see. However, after a while, their children started to get involved in this union.

Our Souls at Night - Kent Haruf

Our Souls at Night is a sadly bittersweet story of two sane people who want to live their lives the way they want. I picked it up to read a few pages before sleep, but I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. Kent Haruf has a unique, beautiful style. It’s hard not to love the characters he created. When I finished the book, I was thankful that I didn’t have any children. It is possible to see what child terror is in Our Souls at Night.

If you are looking for a good book to read in a sitting, I recommend Our Souls at Night. Then you can watch the film starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda on Netflix. Of course, there are significant differences between the book and the film. I can say that they softened the film a little too much. Enjoy!

Our Souls at Night - Kent Haruf

Our Souls at Night

Our Souls at Night: A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.

In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable 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 known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.

Their brave adventures – their pleasures and their difficulties – are hugely involving and truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.

Kent Haruf

Haruf was born in Pueblo, Colorado, the son of a Methodist minister. In 1965 he graduated with a BA from Nebraska Wesleyan University, where he would later teach, and earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1973.

Before becoming a writer, Haruf worked in a variety of places, including a chicken farm in Colorado, a construction site in Wyoming, a rehabilitation hospital in Denver, a hospital in Phoenix, a presidential library in Iowa, an alternative high school in Wisconsin, and colleges in Nebraska and Illinois and as an English teacher with the Peace Corps in Turkey. He lived with his wife, Cathy, in Salida, Colorado, until his death in 2014. He had three daughters from his first marriage.

All of Haruf’s novels take place in the fictional town of Holt, in eastern Colorado. Holt is based on Yuma, Colorado, one of Haruf’s residences in the early 1980s. His first novel, The Tie That Binds (1984), received a Whiting Award and a special Hemingway Foundation/PEN citation. Where You Once Belonged followed in 1990. A number of his short stories have appeared in literary magazines.

Plainsong was published in 1999 and became a U.S. bestseller. Verlyn Klinkenborg called it “a novel so foursquare, so delicate and lovely, that it has the power to exalt the reader.” Plainsong won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award and the Maria Thomas Award in Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction.

Eventide, a sequel to Plainsong, was published in 2004. Library Journal described the writing as “honest storytelling that is compelling and rings true.” Jonathan Miles saw it as a “repeat performance” and “too goodhearted.” A third novel in the series, Benediction was published in 2014.

In the summer of 2014 Haruf finished his last novel, Our Souls at Night, which was published posthumously in 2015. He completed it just before his death. The novel was subsequently adapted in 2017 into a film by the same name, directed by Ritesh Batra and starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. On November 30, 2014, Haruf died at his home in Salida, Colorado, at the age of 71, from interstitial lung disease.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Read Around the World, A Great Journey

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