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Benediction | [Kent Haruf]

Benediction

From the beloved and best-selling author of Plainsong and Eventide comes a story of life and death, and the ties that bind, once again set out on the High Plains in Holt, Colorado. When Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and his wife, Mary, must work together to make his final days as comfortable as possible. Their daughter, Lorraine, hastens back from Denver to help look after him....
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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for The Folio Prize 2014

From the beloved and best-selling author of Plainsong and Eventide comes a story of life and death, and the ties that bind, once again set out on the High Plains in Holt, Colorado.

When Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and his wife, Mary, must work together to make his final days as comfortable as possible. Their daughter, Lorraine, hastens back from Denver to help look after him; her devotion softens the bitter absence of their estranged son, Frank, but this cannot be willed away and remains a palpable presence for all three of them. Next door, a young girl named Alice moves in with her grandmother and contends with the painful memories that Dad's condition stirs up of her own mother's death. Meanwhile, the town’s newly arrived preacher attempts to mend his strained relationships with his wife and teenaged son, a task that proves all the more challenging when he faces the disdain of his congregation after offering more than they are accustomed to getting on a Sunday morning. And throughout, an elderly widow and her middle-aged daughter do everything they can to ease the pain of their friends and neighbors.

Despite the travails that each of these families faces, together they form bonds strong enough to carry them through the most difficult of times. Bracing, sad and deeply illuminating, Benediction captures the fullness of life by representing every stage of it, including its extinction, as well as the hopes and dreams that sustain us along the way. Here Kent Haruf gives us his most indelible portrait yet of this small town and reveals, with grace and insight, the compassion, the suffering and, above all, the humanity of its inhabitants.

©2013 Kent Haruf (P)2013 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

“Reverberant… From the terroir and populace of his native American West, the author of Plainsong and Eventide again draws a story elegant in its simple telling and remarkable in its authentic capture of universal human emotions.” (Brad Hooper, Booklist

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (79 )
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3.9 (74 )
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4.2 (73 )
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  •  
    Adele Columbus, OH, United States 03-06-13
    Adele Columbus, OH, United States 03-06-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Another Home Run for Haruf & Bramhall"

    I’m sure many will not exactly enjoy this story—it’s hardly something to take to the beach, it’s quite the opposite. The subject (a dying patriarch) and the aspects of the personalities visited in Benediction are relentlessly dark. But Haruf’s fictional Holt, Colorado and his characters are so real and so finely wrought as to be palpable. Mark Bramhall is the perfect narrator, he makes this novel into a work of art.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Santa Fe,, NM, United States 03-11-13
    Beth Santa Fe,, NM, United States 03-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A solid story, perfectly told, value added reading"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Bramhall's reading adds so much to an already masterful story, perfectly told.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's utter simplicity and truth.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Dad's death, but it's hard to choose.


    If you could rename Benediction, what would you call it?

    I wouldn't rename it.


    Any additional comments?

    Congratulations!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HDJ New Zealand 06-09-13
    HDJ New Zealand 06-09-13 Member Since 2006
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    "A Blessing"

    A benediction is a blessing and that is exactly what this book is. Kent Haruf writes about the lives of ordinary people in such a way that I'm left feeling I know them and remember them. I wrote a similar comment when reviewing Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. Haruf's ability to look into the soul of his characters reminds me of Stegner.

    Benediction is about Dad Lewis who is dying of cancer. The story revolves around his experiences and those of the people who are close to him. It's an unhurried book perfect in it's simplicity. There are no earth shattering twists to the plot. Beautifully written and expertly narrated by Mark Bramhall, it never slides into sentimentality. Ultimately this is an uplifting story that reveals the ways we live and the values we live by. I strongly recommend it and Haruf's other books as well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Otaki, New Zealand 03-25-13
    Barbara Otaki, New Zealand 03-25-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Benediction - what a way to end your life........."
    What did you love best about Benediction?

    The absolutely normal but complex way the author integrated the characters


    What did you like best about this story?

    That life is so full of interest and importance no matter how outwardly insignificant the players appear to be.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    where all the girls - old and young - went skinny dipping!


    Who was the most memorable character of Benediction and why?

    The little girl - what sort of an adult will she become having been shown the undemanding love of four lonely women.


    Any additional comments?

    Very human portrayal of every aspect of life - realistic but not overly moralist. Well read and worth listening to again, looking forward to some more from this author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    christy Wisconsin 07-04-14
    christy Wisconsin 07-04-14 Member Since 2013

    Books are an integral part of my mental health, intellectual stimulation and social networking!

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    "Sad but peaceful"

    I was not sure about this book when I selected it. I was concerned that it would be depressing, but it surprisingly was reassuring and left me with positive, almost inspiring feelings. The book provides a glimmer of the true process of dealing with the final phases of life. It provides insight into why the little and simple human experiences are important.

    I do not think I would have enjoyed or even understood this book had I read / listened to it in my 20's. I also think I walked away with a deeper reflection since I have children and often think about ways to make their lives meaningful.

    This novel has a "centering" impact and I would encourage listeners to read it if they are looking for a good life story that through the simple aspects of human experience provides the depth of human experience. I think that there are pieces to this story that everyone could relate to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Petaluma, CA United States 05-12-14
    Dawn Petaluma, CA United States 05-12-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Beautifully written"
    If you could sum up Benediction in three words, what would they be?

    Slice of life


    What did you like best about this story?

    The prose and the simplicity with which Haruf paints such a rich picture of his characters.


    Which character – as performed by Mark Bramhall – was your favorite?

    Favorite is not really a good word, as Haruf shows us the main characters' flaws, which make them somewhat unlikeable, but he balances that with good, solid supporting characters to make them multidimensional, as people truly are.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine Portola Valley, Ca, United States 10-16-13
    Elaine Portola Valley, Ca, United States 10-16-13 Member Since 2011

    I did not learn to read until I was in my twenties. Have not stopped since. The two most important things to learn are reading & chess.

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    "Depressing"

    I have a friend that highly recommended this book. I found it very depressing and sad.
    I did not care for any of the characters. They all led very depressing and boring lives.
    I only listen to the end trying to find out why my friend enjoy it. I never did

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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