Plainsong by Kent Haruf

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"Ambitious, but never seeming so, Kent Haruf reveals a whole community as he interweaves the stories of a pregnant high school girl, a lonely teacher, a pair of boys abandoned by their mother, and a couple of crusty bachelor farmers. From simple elements, Haruf achieves a novel of wisdom and grace--a narrative that builds in strength and feeling until, as in a choral chant, the voices in the book surround, transport, and lift the reader off the ground."

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Kent Haruf

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Kent Haruf's honors include a Whiting Foundation Award, a Stegner Award, a Frank Waters Award, and a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation. His novel Plainsong won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the New Yorker Book Award. He lives with his wife, Cathy, in his native Colorado.
Published April 3, 2001 by Vintage. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Plainsong

Kirkus Reviews

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Maggie places Victoria with the McPheron brothers, an arrangement that Guthrie, a friend of both Maggie and the McPherons, supports.

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Publishers Weekly

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In depicting the stalwart courage of decent, troubled people going on with their lives, Haruf's quietly eloquent account illumines the possibilities of grace.

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AV Club

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The exceptional amount of attention surrounding Kent Haruf's third novel Plainsong—a recent Wall Street Journal article noted its word-of-mouth sleeper potential, and it's already been nominated for the National Book Award—indicates just how much the novel has resonated with readers.

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Plainsong

Entertainment Weekly

When high school senior Victoria is thrown out of her home for getting pregnant, one of her teachers, Maggie, orchestrates an unlikely solution: Victoria moves in with the McPherons, two elderly bachelor brothers more comfortable with cattle breeding than social interaction.

Nov 05 1999 | Read Full Review of Plainsong

Suite 101

Rhoda and Samuel each have problems but together they could be successful..

Feb 05 2010 | Read Full Review of Plainsong

Austin Chronicle

On the plains the sky is bigger and the wind blows harder, and this tends to make people some combination of humble, hearty, and resilient as hell.

Nov 10 2000 | Read Full Review of Plainsong

Austin Chronicle

Another set of brothers, ages nine and 10, are abandoned by their mother and spend the rest of the book in a state of confused, unaided longing compounded by the sight of everything from a couple of jerky high school boys "sharing" a girl in an abandoned house to the last days of an elderly woman...

Oct 08 1999 | Read Full Review of Plainsong


Slow-rolling as molasses and earnest in the extreme, "Plainsong" is Hallmark lite, a genial enough production with so few sharp edges as to blunt its dramatic resonance.

Apr 22 2004 | Read Full Review of Plainsong

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