Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Favorites

My Friday fave this week is Plainsong by Kent Haruf. If you've ever lived in the Midwest (and by Midwest I do not mean Ohio or Indiana which are in no way in the western part of the US) you will be able to recognize these small town characters. gives this synopsis: Tom Guthrie is a high school teacher whose wife can't--or won't--get out of bed; the McPherons are two bachelor brothers who know little about the world beyond their farm gate; Victoria Roubideaux is a pregnant 17-year-old with no place to turn. Their lives parallel each other in much the same way any small-town lives would--until Maggie Jones, another teacher, makes them intersect. Even as she tries to draw Guthrie out of his black cloud, she sends Victoria to live with the two elderly McPheron brothers, who know far more about cattle than about teenage girls. Trying to console her when she think she's hurt her baby, the best lie they can come up with is this: "I knew of a heifer we had one time that was carrying a calf, and she got a length of fencewire down her some way and it never hurt her or the calf."

There's not a lot of suspense in this book (although one scene with a bully and Tom Guthrie's boys had me on the afraid to read on but unable to put the book down) but the relationships are wonderful, the dialogue to terrific and the characters are memorable, particularly the McPheron brothers. The writing is beautiful but uncomplicated. Chapters that alternate between the various characters' storylines pull the reader along. This was a book I was sorry to have end.

1 comment:

  1. So the author of this book is from my home town and the characters are based loosely on people from there as well. The name of the town is Yuma, Colorado in case you want to look find it on a map. My hometown isn't known for much, so Kent Haruf is a local celebrity.