Benediction, by Kent Haruf

All three of Kent Haruf’s novels set in the fictional farming town of Holt, Colorado, bear liturgical-sounding titles: Plainsong (1999), Eventide (2004) and now Benediction. Many of their characters are looking for a benediction: a good word of connection, closure, forgiveness or security. They try to find it by risking neighborly assistance, maintaining shaky vows of faithfulness, or offering sexual favors and long-withheld acts of kindness and friendship. Basic human longings stand out amid the quiet streets and within the broad expanses of impassive prairie and cultivated fields that stretch out like an American eternity: the fruited plain.


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