Benediction : Plainsong

  • by Kent Haruf
  • Narrated by Mark Bramhall
  • Series: Plainsong
  • 8 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for The Folio Prize 2014
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.


What the Critics Say

“Reverberant… From the terroir and populace of his native American West, the author of Plainsong and Eventide again draws a story elegant in its simple telling and remarkable in its authentic capture of universal human emotions.” (Brad Hooper, Booklist


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Another Home Run for Haruf & Bramhall

I’m sure many will not exactly enjoy this story—it’s hardly something to take to the beach, it’s quite the opposite. The subject (a dying patriarch) and the aspects of the personalities visited in Benediction are relentlessly dark. But Haruf’s fictional Holt, Colorado and his characters are so real and so finely wrought as to be palpable. Mark Bramhall is the perfect narrator, he makes this novel into a work of art.
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- Adele


Another superb study of small town life, this one featuring the beloved, elderly proprietor of the local hardware store who is dying of cancer. These are his last weeks. He reviews his life in his own mind. Friends and townspeople come to visit and say goodbye. The support they give his wife and daughter is a written as a wonderful tribute to a close-knit community, which the author clearly loves, but still, he does not fail to skewer them viciously in a sub-plot about bigotry in the guise of religion and the power/hypocrisy of church politics.
There is also a hilarious scene involving a bunch of old ladies and one little girl who go skinny-dipping on a hot day in the cows' water tank. i don't usually read novels written by men because they can't write female characters realistically....but this scene was right on, and just hysterical!
The reader is perfect. His voice sounds so comforting and gentle, I could listen to him all day. He was born to read Ken Haruf's books.
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- joyce "Greedy, voracious reader since age five. After a number of eye injuries & surgeries, reading is hard. So now, I listen."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-26-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio