Benediction
by Kent Haruf
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10 + 355 in other languages
Pietro BartolomeiPietro Bartolomei wrote a review
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Cri1967Cri1967 wrote a review
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It is the third novel of the trilogy by Kent Haruf, Plainsong. Another jewel of the literature, a delicate novel, about love and hope.
You enter on tiptoe in the life of the new characters; anybody of the old ones is present, except for a short allusion to the Mac McPheron brothers and to Victoria Roubideaux.
Kent Haruf uses kindness and grace to let us enter in their life and as in the other novels, the reader empathizes immediately with them.
We enter in contact with their existence little by little, we suffer with and for them, we enjoy their moments of happiness and we share their solitude that belongs also to us.
They welcome us in their home as true old friends and thanks to them, we learn to appreciate the little things that life gives us every day.
Their everyday life is ours; the only difference is that we live in another part of the world, while they are in the American town of Holt, forty miles from Denver in the plains of Colorado.
Here everybody knows everybody and we seem to know Dad Lewis for a long time.
He is a terminal ill, and he tackles his illness with great dignity.
His wife Mary, his sweetheart, and their daughter Lorraine, take care of him.
Lorraine has come back home to stay with her father during his last days of life.
Mary and Dad have spent a life together , they both know their secrets and they understand each others with a simple look.
They still always sleep together as they had since the first night so long ago.
They met on the corner of Second and Main Street in the summer of 1947 in Holt. Mary was coming out of a store and Dad was crossing the street.
He was already working at the hardware store.

How many times I went in and out that door. Wasn’t that the way, Mary?
Fifty-five years times six days a week times fifty-two, he said.
What’s that come to?
It amounts to a man’s lifetime, Dad said.
Rudy and Bob are his collaborators, but for him they have been more than somebody he just hired. They are friends.
When Dad, was a young boy, he wanted more. He wanted to work inside someplace. Talk to people. Live in a town. Make a place for himself on Main Street. Own a store, sell things to people, provide what they needed. He worked hard . It wasn’t just luck. His wife was and is her luck.
Dad and Mary have both suffered for the death of their niece, Lorraine's daughter.
Larraine is a pretty woman in her mid-fifties It is since Lanie, who was sixteen years old, died, she never has been what you’d call truly happy.
You don’t get over it, do you. When a child goes. You never do.
She has a relation ship with a man, but she is not happy, and moreover Dad doesn't like that man.
Larraine has been happy with her family.
Except for the one thing: her borther Frank.
Frank is gay and in the past he lived his condition secretly, he has been hardly hit by his fellows at school and only Loraine knew about that.
But Dad knows more about that than everyone thinks.
We lost him
You lost him. I didn’t. Mary says
I miss him, he said. I want you to see each other before you go. I wish he’d come.
Frank is now in his fifties and he has been a fragile and very sensible boy, like the son of Reverend Lyle.
Rob Lyle was a man in his late forties, new to town, He’s married. He has a wife and a teenage son.
He was disciplined by the church for supporting some other preacher who came out homosexual in Denver.
And moreover he was accused to be a terrorist sympathizer only because he says to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us , and pray for those who mistreat us.
Love is at the basis of this novel; Dad Lewis is a beloved man, he did some mistakes during his life, but he has always tried to fix them.
Also his neighbors love him and they visit him regularly: among them we find Berta May.
We know that the man she married turned out to be no good and he left her and their daughter, and then her daughter married someone like her father and now she’s dead from breast cancer and Alice, the daughter of her daughter, is sent there, for Berta May to raise.
The girl is eight years old, she is sweet and Dad Lewis sees his niece in her.
Alice is dearly loved by everyone in the neighborhood : the widow Willa Johnson and Alene, her unmarried daughter who is over sixty and has taken early retirement after teaching children for almost forty years in a little town, and is back home for the summer and maybe longer.
For Alene there is s only a little light remaining. She feels so lonely, she had her chance and she lost it. Her chance at love and a life.

It was probably my only chance. Oh what’s wrong with me? Why have I ended up like this? I’m not even old yet.
I’m going to die and not even have lived yet. It’s so ridiculous. It’s absurd. It’s all so pointless.

And in the fall the days turned cold and the leaves dropped off the trees and in the winter the wind blew from the mountains and out on the high plains of Holt County there were overnight storms and three-day blizzards.












mementomihimementomihi wrote a review
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