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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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Benediction the most enjoyable?
A sensitive, well written novel enhanced by the excellent narration
What did you like best about this story?
It is a story about normal everyday experiences - in this case a long life and marriage, family relationships and social history.
What about Mark Bramhall’s performance did you like?
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It made me sad but I enjoyed it if that makes sense!
Any additional comments?
Kent Haruf is an outstanding writer and I have enjoyed all of his books.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The book seems slow at first as the daily life is described of a family in a small town a few hours drive from Denver, Colorado. Latterly I realised that this seemingly parochial beginning gets one well acquainted with the characters so that their feelings and fate matter as gradually family tensions and resentments are revealed.
A melancholy mood pervades the book as the patriarch of the family learns he has terminal cancer. A diagnosis that leads him to think about his life and his relationships with his family. He’s been an unforgiving father at times, bearing grudges and not showing enough affection to his family. A subsidiary story involving the local minister echoes the theme of forgiveness, even of ones enemies.
If you’ve been with a loved one as they die the final scenes will bring tears to your eyes as upsetting memories are revived.
The narrator’s voice catches perfectly the sombre tone of the book.
Not a happy listen but a memorable one that made me think about important issues.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful