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For more information on
American novelist Kent Haruf (1943 - 2014)
see my post
"Not the Husband, Not the Fathe
@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
The Tie That Binds (1984)
"Now I don’t pretend to think that a mere stretch of six years is anywhere near enough time. But I suppose if that’s all you’re given and no more, then six years will have to do. In the end that’s what Edith Goodnough had: she had six years of what you may call fun. Or good times. Or better, just the day - in, day - out mean rich goodness of being alive, when at night you lie down in the warm dark pleased with your corner of the world, and then you wake the next morning still pleased with it, and you know that, too, while you lie there for a time listening in peace to the mourning doves calling from the elm trees and telephone lines, until finally the thought of black coffee moves you up out of bed and down the stairs to the kitchen stove, so that once again you can begin it all afresh, with pleasure, with eagerness even” (165).
Where You Once Belonged (1990)
"At Holt County Union High School -- it was redbrick too and three stories high as the grade school had been, but it stood at the south end of Main Street and it was more ambitious architecturally; it had square turrets at both ends and the roof was red tile so that it looked a cross between a prison and somebody's notion of a Mediterranean palace; you could see it from a distance, risen up above the stunted elm trees and hackberries, standing alone at the end of Main as if blocking passage out of town, the practical and symbolic notion of what Holt County thought about higher education, standing there for fifty years and more until in the middle 1960s it was condemned and they tore it down and sold off the old redbrick for backyard patios and borders for zinnia beds and replaced it with a new low one - story pedestrian affair that had a scarcity of windows . . ." (24 - 25).
"Let me see if I can stand up. Slowly she began to rise from the chair, pushing back with her fisted hands against the armrests. They wanted to help her but didn’t know where she might be touched. At last she stood erect. It’s ridiculous to get so old, she said. It’s stupid and ridiculous. She took up her canes. Stand back so I don’t trip on you. . . . She shuffled into the next room and came back carrying a flat and ragged cardboard box and set it on the table and removed the lid, then she showed them photographs that had been much-handled in the long afternoons and evenings of her solitary life . . . there was a photograph of . . . a slender woman with dark wavy hair in a white gabardine dress.
Who’s that? they said. That lady with him.
Who do you think? she said.
They shrugged. They didn’t know.
That’s me. Couldn’t you guess?
They turned to look at her, examining her face.
That’s how I used to look, she said. I was young once too, don’t you know." (148 - 50)
"She got up from bed with the sheet around her and followed him, watching him drive away on the vacant street, seeing him pass under the corner streetlamp, then onto Main and out of sight. Shadows from the lamp were like long stick figures thrown out behind the trees and all along the street were the quiet mute fronts of houses. She sat down in the dark room. An hour later she woke shivering and went back to her bed. . . .
And farther away, outside of town, out on the high plains, there would be the blue yardlights shining from the tall poles at all the isolated farms and ranches in all the flat treeless country, and presently the wind would come up, blowing across the open spaces, traveling without obstruction across the wide fields of winter wheat and across the ancient native pastures and the graveled county roads, carrying with it a pale dust as the dark approached and the nighttime gathered round" (224, 300).
"Sounds like a mixed blessing, Lyle said.
Dad looked at him. Yes sir. Lots of things turn out to be blessings that got mixed up." (78)
"All life is moving through some kind of unhappiness, isn't it.
I don't know. I didn't used to think so.
But there's some good too, Willa said. I insist on that.
There are some brief moments, Alene said. This is one of them." (194)
"Well, you sure got you a real fine nice big house here. You done all right that way, didn't you. This is a real nice big pleasing satisfying house you got here.
I worked for it, Dad said.
Well sure. Of course. I know, the old man said. Had some luck too, I believe.
I had some luck. But I worked hard. I earned it.
Yeah. Sure. Most people work hard. It's not only that now, is it. You had you some luck.
Goddamn it, I had some luck too, Dad said, but I earned the luck." (227)
Our Souls at Night (2015)
"Aren’t you afraid of death?
Not like I was. I’ve come to believe in some kind of afterlife. A return to our true selves, a spirit self. We’re just in this physical body till we go back to spirit.
I don’t know if I believe that, Addie said. Maybe you’re right. I hope you are.
We’ll see, won’t we. But not yet.
No, not yet, Addie said. I do love this physical world. I love this physical life with you. And the air and the country. The backyard, the gravel in the back alley. The grass. The cool nights. Lying in bed talking with you in the dark." (128 - 29)
"You can't fix things, can you, Louis said.
We always want to. But we can't. . . .
What did you tell me? Something about not being able to fix people's lives.
That was for you, she said. Not for me.
I see, Louis said." (144, 151).
Kent Haruf Celebration
Almost Equinox Birthday
Haruf (Rhymes with Sheriff)
Not the Husband, Not the Father