Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf: Book Review

Our Souls at Night Kent Haruf Paperback“Who would have thought at this time in our lives that we’d still have something like this. That it turns out we’re not finished with changes and excitements. And not all dried up in body and spirit.”

Addie and Louis are quiet, decent people in the beginning of their ‘twilight years.’ Both widowed, they’ve been living alone for a long time and although they are not friends, they’ve known each other and inhabited the same circle for decades. They knew each other’s spouses when they were alive. They knew each other’s children and saw them grow up. Now Addie surprises Louis by showing up at his house with a proposition of sorts: come over to her house each night and sleep in her bed.

This isn’t a love story, though. It’s about two people connecting and finding comfort in each other–even if that comfort is simply in lying beside each other and talking. It’s a simple story and sparse, in true Haruf style, but it resonates. That Addie and Louis know their arrangement cannot last (everything is fleeting at their age, after all) only makes it all the more profound. That Haruf wrote it as he himself was dying only enhances that. This is a novel that is beautiful and filled with grace for its very simplicity.

“I just want to live simply and pay attention to what’s happening each day,” Louis notes toward the end of the novel, and by the end you will, too.

Grade: A-

Our Souls at Night Kent Haruf


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