Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by to check on my week. I’ve had a lovely week up in Portland visiting my two granddaughters and their parents. It was the last week of summer for my teacher-daughter and seventh-grader Lou. I took the train back and forth and saw lots of smoke coming from the mountains, first in Oregon and then northern California. I came home to a hot 108 degree temperature! Obviously, summer is not done with us.
I had a little time to read this week, primarily on the train. I brought along a trilogy by Kent Haruf, the Plainsong Trilogy. The novels center around the residents of the small town of Holt, Colorado. Holt is located east of Denver on the high plains. The writing is superb. It’s sparse, like the countryside, but is lyrical, as if singing a ballad. The author is a master storyteller.
Plainsong is the first book and, by far, my favorite. It features the independent stories of the two boys of school teacher dad and a mentally ill mom, a pregnant teenager who has been thrown out by her mother, two elderly bachelor brothers who still ranch outside of town, and another high school teacher who pulls them all together.
My heart went out to the two little boys as they navigated their way through the people of the small town collecting payment for the newspapers they delivered every morning. A great contrast was the relationship of the two elderly brothers who had spent their entire lives living and working together. I also liked how they reacted when their friend Molly, the high school teacher, arranged to have Vicky, the pregnant teenager, board with them. It was awkward at first for all of them.
I won’t give away the ending as I want you to read the book, if you haven’t already done so. I will tell you that a Hallmark movie was made of the book. It’s also called Plainsong. That should give you a clue to the ending since all Hallmark movies end well. The movie stuck close to the original storyline and the actors filled the character roles just fine. I highly recommend watching it too. Our library had a dvd copy, so you should check your local library too.
Eventide was a continuation of the story of the two elderly brothers and Vicky, the pregnant teenager. This storyline introduces some new characters that I really liked. There is a middle-grade boy living with his grandfather whose gradually declining health requires that the boy become the parent in this relationship. There is also the story of a couple who have trouble coping with the everyday activities of life and are thrown for a loop when disastrous events occur. Fortunately, they have an excellent social worker who gets them through the majority of their problems. I loved her.
Benediction was called Plainsong #3, but it didn’t have any pf the characters from the two previous books. I was disappointed. This story began with the news that “Dad” Lewis had only a few months to live. The story continues with the reactions of family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to the news. How some people handle the death of a loved one is not new to most of us. The people of Holt, Colorado were quite similar to people I know. I can’t tell you to rush out and read this one unless you are longing for a very sad tale.
Overall, Kent Haruf is a wonderful writer and I will read the rest of what he has written.
That’s it for me this week. We are off to find a cool place to spend another super-hot day. The forecast is for cooler weather by Wednesday, so we’ll try to hang in there until then.