Kent Haruf has received prestigious awards, including a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation for his finely-tuned works. Before the opening chapter of this novel, Haruf offers a definition. Plainsong is “any simple and unadorned melody or air.” Direct yet elegant, Haruf’s Plainsong is a hymn to the breadth of the human spirit.
A high school history teacher in a small Colorado town, Guthrie is raising his two young sons alone. Thoughtful and honest, he is guiding them through a world that is not always kind. Victoria, one of his students, is pregnant, homeless, and vulnerable to the scorn of the town. When Guthrie helps two elderly ranchers take the young woman into their home, an unlikely extended family is born. As the chapters of these people’s lives alternate throughout Plainsong, loneliness and need are transformed into nourishing bonds. Narrator Tom Stechschulte captures the subtle changes that bring the men, women, and children together. His performance highlights every shading of this superb New York Times best-seller.
©1999 Kent Haruf (P)1999 Recorded Books, LLC
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One of those books that when you reach the end, you just wish it wasn't so.
N/A. I have not read the book.
I liked them all. The McPheran brothers, though were especially entertaining.
He is a good reader who captures the manner of speech in that part of Colorado well. I am a Co. Native who has been to Yuma (Holt) many times.
It wouldn't work well as a movie.
After a steady diet of spicy food, (thrillers and action novels) I needed some comfort food. This hit the spot.
This is a story I can relate to - the characters are as real as life itself. Narrator does an excellent job
Can't compare Plainsong to any other author - it is unique
Tom's delivery provides flavor - his ability to create characters with different voice inflections is very valuable
Just an excellent work - the kind of story that you can connect with. Finishing this story made me crave for more.
Which came first... the books or the glasses?
I really liked this story. Atfer listening to it for a little bit I wondered 'where is it going' but I soon relaxed into the book and enjoyed the ride. The narrator is very good. The flow of the novel and the stories of the different characters is very good. It will stay with me for a while now that the last word has been spoken. There is another novel, perhaps not quite a sequel but has some of the same characters, called "Eventide".
Compelling characters provided a unique, full, perspective of small-town life. The story has a timelessness that made me want to stay with it, even though the falsetto voce narration of the female characters was painful.
Characters were developed in intimate, compassionate detail. The author moved masterfully between view points of the primary characters: 2 young brothers learning about death, 2 old bachelor brothers completely changing their household, a middle-aged man rebuilding his identity and a young, unmarried girl learning to become a mother.
Mr. Stechschulte did a fine job reading male characters, but his falsettos were grating for the female characters. Since I'm new to audio books, I don't have a recommendation.
No. It stands alone beautifully.
T.S is, as always, a great reader- Sometimes I choose a book just because he's reading. He has yet to read a bad one.
The book builds slowly and evenly a great story with some wonderful characters. Some of the characters are from a time that is past and missed today.
There might be a beautiful story here to be told but for me profanity, crude language and graphic sex scenes ruin it. I quickly learned that this book was not my forte.
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
Although Plainsong is set in an unremarkable small town in Colorado, it is itself a remarkable story. The variety of characters and the situations they face are all written by Haruf with plain, simple, understated, and unflinching language; it is his writing that makes this story so quietly evocative and compelling. Tom Stechshulte's narration is perfect.
Holt, Colorado is populated by many characters, high school teacher Tom Guthrie, his depressed and fading-away wife Ella, their young sons Ike and Bobby, pregnant teenager Victoria Roubideaux, her abusive boyfriend Dwayne, bachelor brothers and ranchers Raymond and Harold McPheron, and teacher Maggie Jones, whose stories are told in alternating and overlapping chapters. There is loss of innocence, sex, violence, and death, but there is also kindness, decency, community, and family.
Plainsong is an honest and eloquently-told story that will be with me for a long time.
I finished this book the weekend the author died. My sympathies to the family. It the author lived his life as thoughtful as his writing he was a wonderful being I am sure.
The characters and the proses are beautifully crafted, I loved the writing. But if you listen, expect a very subtle overlay of simple stories that unfold slowly. There is no big dramatic moment, anywhere; rather it is beautiful writing about people you could know, trying to figure out their lives that occasionally intersect.
Seriously, the author channels Hemingway in several respects. For starters, he never met a compound sentence he didn't like. Maybe this is more obvious listening than it would be reading, but the cadence sounds an awfully lot like For Whom the Bell Tolls. Then there are the inexplicable plot detours. At one point, for example, the boys get on a horse and take a long (at least the description is long) ride whose point is never really clear. Maybe it's just me, but I felt like that often reading Hemingway.
That said, the story itself is kind of nice. The characters are clearly defined and the narrator does a good job of distinguishing them. The nature of a small town and the interactions therein are well handled, but this is not Mayberry by any stretch. The plot line about the pregnant teenager and the elderly bachelors is especially charming.
This was different than the books I usually read/listen to, but I'm glad I did.
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