Book Club Kit - 2014
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A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year

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.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Contemporaries, 2014
Edition: First Vintage Contemporaries edition.
ISBN: 9780307950420
Branch Call Number: BOOK CLUB BENEDICT
Characteristics: 12 books (257 pages), 1 discussion guide, 1 bag.


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Dec 13, 2019

One of my favorite books, Our Souls at Night, led me to read this book by Kent Haruf, the same author. This book covered attempted suicide, extramarital affairs and hospice care of the leading care. It was dull to boring. I don't recommend.

Aug 26, 2019

This book would not be for everyone but I really liked it. It is a story about a family where Dad Lewis is dying from terminal cancer and he is getting his life in order in his mind. His wife of 50 years Mary is by his side as she has been since the day they met and his daughter Lorraine has come home to help. His son Frank is estranged and they have not heard from him in years. Frank was gay and his father had a bad attitude towards gays and there was an argument and Dad Lewis slapped Frank in the face because he was disgusted with his lifestyle choice. Frank left home at an early age and moved to Denver. Mom and Dad visited him a couple of times but Dad always made the visit short. Dad owned his own hardware store in the town and had caught one of his employees stealing from him and fired him. The employees wife came to Dad offering her body as payment and Dad Lewis turned her down and they left town. The wife called a few months later and said her husband had committed suicide and she blamed Dad Lewis. Dad felt guilty over how he handled the situation and supported her for a couple of years after until she called one day saying she was remarrying and he no longer had to send the money. He never told a soul about the incident or the payments to her. The guilt lingered in his mind though. On his deathbed Frank comes to him and so does the wife of his thief employee. They talk to him and he tells his son he used to think badly of him but now he has a better understanding of his son and his son forgives him. He knows the wife has forgiven him too. His mom and dad come to him too and he had been estranged from them for years because his own father had used him as a work horse on the farm he owned and beat him on a regular basis. Dad Lewis was a reliable, hard working man who provided for his family in the way he knew best at the time but he had his regrets over the years and benediction (forgiveness) is what he needed before he left this world. I think he got it and he left this world at peace. Life is a circle and love is the most important thing we can have in our lives. Material things don't matter in the end. Growing old and getting sick can be done with dignity if you have people in your life who love you and care for you and don't consider you a burden. That is what love and family is all about and forgiveness is the best gift we can give to someone who has wronged us. I think Dad was a good man who loved his family but he was stubborn and it cost him and his family. Mom never stopped hoping her son would come back into her life. She loved and accepted him no matter what his sexual orientation but it was a time when you stood by your husband even if you didn't agree with him. There is more to life than right and wrong.

Oct 16, 2018

I have loved every one of this series that Kent Haruf created about Holt, CO. His writing style is simple as are the characters he portrays but the interwoven quality of the lives of the small town is wonderful and engrossing. All three of these novels made me cry and wish for more. Unfortunately, Kent Haruf is now deceased and will write no more. That is a sad ending.

Apr 18, 2018

This is a beautifully slowly-paced book about small town Holt Colorado residents as they
grapple with anticipatory grief and loss. Perhaps auto-biographical. I will miss Harruf's warm and humane insights.

Mar 25, 2018

The style is simple and beautiful but unsentimental. The chapters are masterly connected. The parts of the preacher and the congregation are excellent. The characters are real and human. A skilfully created book.

Oct 09, 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Haruf writes so simply and his characters are so believable. It is not often I am so taken with the storyline that I am moved to tears. I was with this book!

Jan 28, 2016

I love Haruf's writing style and he will be missed. This is a gentle story once again of the small town of Holt and it's inhabitants. The story revolves around the final days of a dying man and his family while still showing other's lives....just how life in a small town would be. It's not action-packed but seems very real. A quick read.

Oct 26, 2015

This man's writing is simple in style, but so rich in detail and in emotion, it's mesmerizing. A family in a small Colorado town, is facing the imminent death of the father, while other lives go on around and rotate in and out of theirs. Beautiful. Just beautiful, in how Haruf sums up our little lives and shows how they impact on others.

May 31, 2015

I enjoyed this quiet, reflective novel. The author has a gift for dialogue and setting. The manner in which the characters spoke sounded "real" and authentic. Kent Haruf captured the "feel" of rural, small-town life in the Colorado high plains. If you're looking for an action-packed story, this novel is definitely NOT for you.

Nov 08, 2014

I enjoyed Benediction which very clearly described the family dynamics that can complicate life.

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May 31, 2015

I enjoyed this quiet, reflective novel. The author has a gift for dialogue and setting. The manner in which the characters spoke sounded "real" and authentic. Kent Haruf captured the "feel" of rural, small-town life in the Colorado high plains. If you're looking for an action-packed story, this novel is definitely NOT for you.


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