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Benediction

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.
Rezension
"His finest-tuned tale yet. . . . There is a deep, satisfying music to this book, as Haruf weaves between such a large cast of characters in so small a space. . . . Strangely, wonderfully, the moment of a man's passing can be a blessing in the way it brings people together. Benediction recreates this powerful moment so gracefully it is easy to forget that, like [the town of] Holt, it is a world created by one man." -John Freeman, The Boston Globe

"A quiet and profound statement about endings, about change and death and endurance, and about the courage it takes to finally let go. . . . What's remarkable is Haruf's ability, once again, to square quotidian events with what it means to be alive and bound in ordinary pleasure with ordinary people [with] a matter-of-fact tone, with spare declarative sentences and plain-speak among the characters that is, in its bare-bones clarity, often heartbreakingly authentic." -Debra Gwartney, The Oregonian

"What Haruf makes of this patch of ground is magic [and] Benediction spreads its blessing over the entire town. Haruf isn't interested in evil so much as the frailties that defeat us - loneliness, a failure to connect with one another, the lack of courage to change. . . . [He] makes us admire his characters' ability not only to carry on but also to enjoy simple pleasures." -Dan Cryer, San Francisco Chronicle

"We've waited a long time for an invitation back to Holt, home to Kent Haruf's novels. . . He may be the most muted master in American fiction [and] Benediction seems designed to catch the sound of those fleeting good moments [with] scenes Hemingway might have written had he survived." -Ron Charles, Washington Post

"A lovely book, surprisingly rich in character and event without any sense of being crowded. . . . Haruf is a master in summing up the drama that already exists in life, if you just pay attention." -Harper Barnes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Absorbing [and] evocative. . . . Haruf doesn't offer us any facile reconciliations. The blessings in Benediction are [not] easily won. For that very reason they are all the more believable and all the more unforgettable." - Richard Wakefield, The Seattle Times

"Splendid. . . . As the expertly crafted structure of Benediction emerges, it becomes clear that [Haruf's many] characters trace the arc of a life. . . as we join [a good but flawed man] in his deepening appreciation for those around him, while counting down the remaining hours, in his life and our own." -Mike Fischer, Portland Press Herald

"Remarkable. . . . Haruf paints indelible portraits of drifting days that reveal unexpected blessings. . . . We may not always recognize the best moments-maybe because they are often as simple as eating off the good china at a backyard picnic-but he understands their power to make us human." -Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald

"Itself a blessing. . . spare and unencumbered. . . . Haruf's great skill is in describing the plain ways of people who live in small places [and the war] going on between good and evil that we recognize as part of our nature. This is what makes Benediction a universal story, not a hometown tale." -Michael D. Langan, The Buffalo News

"Quiet, and intimate, and beautiful." -Lisa McLendon, The Wichita Eagle

"If Hemingway had had more soul, he would've written a book like Benediction ." -Emma Broder, The Chicago Maroon

"Incisive, elegiac, and rhetorically rich. . . his finest expression yet of an aesthetic vision that, in spite of its exacting verisimilitude, achieves a mythic dimension rare in contemporary fiction. . . . Haruf's art is rigorous but transparent. Scene after scene, we appreciate that we are in the hands of a master of complex storytelling disguised as simple observation. . . . Reading [him], I am often reminded of the great Russian realists, who have a similar compressed intensity and who spent much of their writing time examining the lives of ordinary people living in small communities in
Portrait
Kent Haruf is the author of five previous novels (and, with the photographer Peter Brown, 
West of Last Chance). His honors include a Whiting Foundation Writers’ Award, the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award, the Wallace Stegner Award, and a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation; he was also a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the New Yorker Book Award. He died in November 2014, at the age of seventy-one.
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  • Chapter 1

    When the test came back the nurse called them into the examination room and when the doctor entered the room he just looked at them and asked them to sit down. They could tell by the look on his face where matters stood.

    Go on ahead, Dad Lewis said, say it.

    I'm afraid I don't have very good news for you, the doctor said.

    When they went back downstairs to the parking lot it was late in the afternoon.

    You drive, Dad said. I don't want to.

    Are you feeling so bad, honey?

    No. I don't feel that much worse. I just want to look out at this country. I won't be coming out here again.

    I don't mind driving for you, she said. And we can come this way again anytime if you want to.

    They drove out from Denver away from the mountains, back onto the high plains: sagebrush and soapweed and blue grama and buffalo grass in the pastures, wheat and corn in the planted fields. On both sides of the highway were the gravel county roads going out away under the pure blue sky, all the roads straight as the lines ruled in a book, with only a few small isolated towns spread across the flat open country.

    It was sundown when they got home. By then the air was starting to cool off. She parked the car in front of their house at the west edge of Holt on the gravel street and Dad got out and stood looking for a while. The old white house built in 1904, the first on the street which wasn't even much of a street then, and still only three or four houses there yet when he bought it in 1948, the year he and Mary were married. He was twenty-two, working at the hardware store on Main Street, then the old lame man who owned it made up his mind to move away to live with his daughter and he offered Dad the option of purchasing it, and he was a known man in town by then, the bankers knew him, and gave him the loan without question. So he was the proprietor of the local hardware store.

    It was a frame house sided with clapboard, two-story with a red shingled roof, with an old-fashioned black wrought iron fence around it and an iron gate with spears and hard loops at the top. Out back was an old red barn and a pole corral grown over with tall weeds, and beyond that there was nothing but the open country.

    He went inside to the downstairs bedroom to put on old pants and a sweater and came back out and sat down in one of the porch chairs.

    She came out to find him. Do you want supper now? I could make you a sandwich.

    No. I don't want anything. Maybe if you could bring me a beer.

    You don't want anything to eat?

    You go on ahead without me.

    Do you want a glass?

    No.

    She went inside and returned with the cold bottle.

    Thank you, he said.

    She went back in. He drank from the bottle and sat looking out at the quiet empty street in the summer evening. The neighbor Berta May's yellow house next door and the other houses beyond it, running up to the highway, and the vacant lot directly across the street, and the railroad tracks three blocks in the other direction, all of that part of town still empty and undeveloped between his property and the tracks. In the trees in front of the house the leaves were blowing a little.

    She brought a tray of crackers and cheese and an apple cut up in quarters and a glass of iced tea. Would you like any of this? She held out the tray to him. He took a piece of apple and she sat down beside him in the other porch chair.

    Well. That's it, he said. That's the deal now. Isn't it.

    He might be wrong. They're wrong sometimes, she said. They can't be so sure.

    I don't want to let myself think that way. I can feel it in me that they're right. I don't have much time left.

    Oh I don't want to believe that.

    Yeah. But I'm pretty sure -that's how it's going to be.

    I don't want you to go ye
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Beschreibung

Produktdetails

Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 272
Erscheinungsdatum 14.01.2014
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-307-95042-0
Verlag Random House US
Maße (L/B/H) 20.3/13.1/2.2 cm
Gewicht 268 g
Verkaufsrang 4246
Buch (Taschenbuch, Englisch)
Buch (Taschenbuch, Englisch)
Fr. 23.90
Fr. 23.90
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inkl. gesetzl. MwSt.
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Versandfertig innert 1 - 2 Wochen,  Kostenlose Lieferung ab Fr.  30 i
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