Book Review(s): Two by Kent Haruf
RIP Kent Haruf, who died November 30, 2014 at the age of 71. Here is an earlier post about two of his books. A wonderful writer.
Plainsong. In this moving story of family disintegration and re-creation, Haruf’s distant omniscient narration is balanced by the weight of scene over narrative exposition—over one hundred scenes in forty-four short chapters. He uses selection of incident, rather than interior monologue or narrative exposition, to create sympathetic connections between characters and reader.
Where You Once Belonged. This first-person narrative tells the story (from a classmate and fellow resident’s perspective) of the sociopathic Jack Burdette’s effect on Holt, Colorado, and vice versa. The narrator at first seems to be removed from the main action, just as Nick is in The Great Gatsby, but as the novel progresses he moves from witness to protagonist. I found the ending problematical in that *SPOILER ALERT* Haruf’s characterization of Jessie Burdette as a woman strong enough to relinquish her home did not jibe with her being unable to free herself and her children from Jack’s control.
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