Thursday, April 26, 2018

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Here was this man Tom Genoni in Holt standing at the back window in the kitchen of his house smoking cigarettes and looking out over the back lot where the sun was just setting. The book club was gathered as it was the last Thursday of the month, at the sundown hour.
This ain't going to be no goddamn Sunday school picnic, he said, to no one in particular. They think writing their memoirs is hard? This is gonna be harder.  Most of these fellers never even raised a daughter. They have no idea. A girl is different. They want things. They need things on a regular schedule. Why, a girl's got purposes you and me can't even imagine. They got ideas in their heads you and me can't even suppose.
  Ain't going to be no goddamn Sunday school picnic, he repeated. He looked out over the back lot and watched the wind whip the leaves around. The air was turning sharp, with a fall feeling of loneliness coming. Something unaccountable pending in the air. What would they say?

Dick J:  I won't take long.  I loved this book.  I read it twice and I read the trilogy.  It's an A.

Keith G:  I enjoyed the small town connection - in Pagosa Springs, in Jemez, everyone knows everyone.  They don't care how you are dressed, I can leave my key with a neighbor and they will walk my dog while I'm gone.  A

Mike B:  The loving, captivating, unisonous voice of Kent Haruf immerses the reader into a year in the Life of the small drama of small town America. Would Ike and Bobby grow up to be like the McPherons?  That would not be all bad.  The first fourth of the book was dark, despair, depression.  Haruf pulled the characters and the reader slowly along, until he brought us all together at the end.  A

Kenny G:  There wasn't a lot of plot.  It was a pleasant and heartwarming tale of how people live their lives.  I will remember this book and I strongly recommend it.  A

Charlie:  This may well be one of the top 20 books we have read.  I couldn't find anything wrong with this book.  A

Bob S:  A wonderful book.  If it lacked anything, it was the arc of a classic.  People were having trouble in their lives but he brought them together nicely.  A-

Rob E:  I felt it was a superficial look at rural America.  I got side-tracked by the bachelor brothers and couldn't get Garrison Keillor out of my mind.  I remember in my senior year of high school, one of the popular girls got pregnant by a guy who was a thug, our version of Russell Beckman.  I didn't get into it or find it as moving as I heard tonight.  A-

Tom G:  Solid A.  Best - what do we mean by that?  Enjoyable and had an impact on me, the best we've read since Shane.  I had a hard time putting it down, and then a hard time picking it up again as I worried that something bad was going to happen.  Just inside the front cover, six of the blurbs on the two pages of Aclaim for Kent Haruf's Plainsong use the word "spare."

... and from well outside of Holt:

Dear Tom,
I am sorry I won't be at the LTBC meeting you are hosting. I'll be in the sky somewhere between ABQ and BWI on my way to Cork, Ireland.  It should be a great discussion. Thank you for choosing the book. I loved it. My comments follow:

Kent Haruf's Plainsong is one of the best books I have read. I could not put it down. Coming from a small town I could easily relate to Holt and to the characters who populate it. Haruf's prose is simple and straightforward. The plain language he uses and the barren landscapes he paints create an atmosphere that helps drive the plot, which is an excellent example of how form affects content. In spite of the difficult circumstances some of the characters find themselves in, I believe the story resonates with hope. The generosity and love of the McPheron brothers, for example, far outweigh the cruelty bestowed upon Victoria Roubideaux. I highly recommend the book. A


Brothers of the Book-- Sorry to say due to unforeseen scheduling conflict I'll miss the meeting. I enjoyed the book. Liked the style and story line. Good pick, Tom. A -- Ron