Love and Companionship in "Our Souls at Night", by Kent Haruf - Book Review

Our Souls at Night is filled with neither passion nor adventure. Rather, it is a restrained telling of a kind of love story - two ordinary people coming together, dealing with adversity. Sounds banal enough; however, our protagonists are old souls. That is, both over the age of 70 whose spouses have passed away. It’s a relationship not often written of, and certainly not in popular fiction.

Author Kent Haruf has written several award-winning novels. Our Souls at Night is his last, published after his death. The story takes place in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado - a small community where everyone knows everyone’s business and openly critiques. Our widow Addie approaches an acquaintance, Louis with an offer. Both have been on their own for years, and Addie is lonely. Her proposal to Louis is to come spend nights with her - lay next to each other, hold hands and talk. Despite becoming the scandalous talk of the town and initial disapproval of their grown children, they openly continue. And it’s lovely. Of course, complications ensue and we see if Addie and Louis can endure.

Haruf’s writing is spare, and the dialogue is confined to only what he feels is important for us to understand - the mere essence of their relationship and care for one another. And on second thought, perhaps the book really is about passion and adventure, though not in the usual sense. It’s the passion for living life through advanced age and continuing to look forward to what adventure is ahead.

Published: 2015
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Vickie’s rating: 3 stars