Title: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 192 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.
In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.
Their brave adventures—their pleasures and their difficulties—are hugely involving and truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.
In Our Souls at Night, Kent Haruf once again takes readers back to Holt, CO where two widowed neighbors’ unorthodox arrangement is met with resistance by their children and some of the townspeople. Quite moving, this lovely novel is also heartwarming and poignant and it is one that will stay with readers long after the story ends.
Louis Waters and Addie Moore are both long widowed and although they have been neighbors for decades, they do not know one another very well. So Louis is rather surprised when Addie approaches him with an unusual request that she believes would help relieve her loneliness. She asks Louis if he would come to her house nightly and sleep with her-for companionship, not sex. After careful consideration, Louis agrees to give her suggestion a try and what follows is a beautiful relationship that defies convention but makes them happier than either of them could have imagined.
Before falling asleep, Louis and Addie take turns discussing the different events that have made up their lives. They confide in one another about their marriages, their mistakes and their losses. Nothing is off limits as they discuss their failings, their regrets and the disappointments they endured over the years. Both share their concerns for their respective children and their sense of responsibility for the missteps and mistakes they feel have contributed to their kids inability to find happiness as adults.
It is not until Addie’s young grandson, Jamie, comes to stay with her that their relationship deepens but it also becomes much more complicated. Addie and Louis enjoy introducing Jamie to outdoor activities that are missing from his life and the three spend a great deal of time enjoying the natural beauty of the surrounding area. However, Addie’s son is not happy about Louis spending time with his mother or his son, and Addie is soon torn between her son’s demands and her relationship with Louis.
Our Souls at Night is a heartfelt novel that is beautifully written. Published posthumously, this sweet, gentle and emotional story is a little sad, yet also uplifting. Kent Haruf is a longtime favorite author of mine and he will be greatly missed.