The Tie That Binds

The Tie That Binds

4.3 20
by Kent Haruf
     
 

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Colorado, January 1977. Eighty-year-old Edith Goodnough lies in a hospital bed, IV taped to the back of her hand, police officer at her door. She is charged with murder. The clues: a sack of chicken feed slit with a knife, a milky-eyed dog tied outdoors one cold afternoon. The motives: the brutal business of farming and a family code of ethics as unforgiving

Overview

Colorado, January 1977. Eighty-year-old Edith Goodnough lies in a hospital bed, IV taped to the back of her hand, police officer at her door. She is charged with murder. The clues: a sack of chicken feed slit with a knife, a milky-eyed dog tied outdoors one cold afternoon. The motives: the brutal business of farming and a family code of ethics as unforgiving as the winter prairie itself.

In his critically acclaimed first novel, Kent Haruf delivers the sweeping tale of a woman of the American High Plains, as told by her neighbor, Sanders Roscoe. As Roscoe shares what he knows, Edith's tragedies unfold: a childhood of pre-dawn chores, a mother's death, a violence that leaves a father dependent on his children, forever enraged. Here is the story of a woman who sacrifices her happiness in the name of family—and then, in one gesture, reclaims her freedom. Breathtaking, determinedly truthful, The Tie That Binds is a powerfully eloquent tribute to the arduous demands of rural America, and of the tenacity of the human spirit.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An impressive, expertly crafted work of sensitivity and detail. . . . Powerful."  —Los Angeles Times Book Review

"[A] fine first novel that dramatically and accurately explores the lives of people who work the land in the stark American Middle West."  —The New York Times Book Review

"Kent Haruf writes so wonderfully. . . . His characters live, and the voice of his narrator reverberates after the last page: humorous, ironic, loving."  —The Christian Science Monitor

"Haruf's gifts as a writer go beyond choreography. He has caught his prairie people with the skill of Wright Morris, the prairie itself with the sweeping eye of Willa Cather. . . . [I]t's nearly impossible to believe this is his first novel."  —Rocky Mountain News

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805018691
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/01/1991
Edition description:
1st Owl book ed
Pages:
89
Product dimensions:
5.53(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.71(d)

Meet the Author

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.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
South Central Mountains of Colorado
Date of Birth:
February 24, 1943
Place of Birth:
Pueblo, Colorado
Education:
B.A., Nebraska Wesleyan University, 1965; M.F.A., Iowa University (Writers' Workshop), 1973

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Tie That Binds 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I was taking fiction writing from Kent Haruf at Nebraska Wesleyan University in the late 1980's, 'The Tie That Binds' had just been dubbed by many critics as one of the best novels of the decade. However, like a fool, I kept putting off reading it. Now, ten years later, I have finally managed to get off of my lazy rear and do what I should have done when I had the opportunity to really learn from this incredibly gifted writer. My loss. The story of Edith Goodnough is a truly sad and moving one. This tragedy works because it becomes a sounding board for ones own missed opportunities and lost chances. Anyone who has ever felt like a prisoner in their own lives (and most everyone does at least now and again) will be able to relate to Edith Goodnough. This novel is not to be missed by anyone who appreciates fiction with depth, and relishes characters who truly magnify real life and real peole.
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SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
Set in the plains of Colorado from the early 1900s to 1977, Kent Haruf’s The Tie that Binds is a beautiful story of real life, real people, and real meaning imparted by genuine relationships. Sanders Roscoe drives a Denver newspaper reporter away from his door in fury, but he welcomes the reader into his home where he tells an enthralling story of life on the American Plains—in particular, he tells of a woman called Edith who lies in hospital bed, charged unexpectedly with murder. Sandy’s father knew Edith’s family when they first arrived in the plains. His Indian grandmother helped deliver Edith when she was born, and there’s a wonderful sense of history to the depiction of Indian lands brought under the plough and tamed. Edith’s father despises the half-caste neighbor boy, but years of working the same tracts of land tie families and lives together, even while a sense of duty threatens those precious ties. Daughter of a cruelly unthinking man, sister of an oddly unthinking brother, and childless neighbor who loves children, Edith is dry and sandy as the soil, unyielding as the plough, and solidly determined as the trees that break the ever-blowing wind. Heroes are wounded people rising above their losses, forgiving each other, trusting, and building ties as land and nature bind them. As Sanders tells Edith's tale it soon becomes clear both he and she, for all their imperfections, are heroes of a kind. Wonderfully evocative, unflinchingly honest, with self-deprecating humor and truly redeeming affection, The Tie that Binds binds the reader to these characters and the land, leaving a feeling that we’ve really been there, known these people, and really care what might happen in the end. Disclosure: A generous friend loaned me this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He can't write fast enough for me. One of the best American authors EVER!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Kent Haruf is one of the masters of storytelling! His characters and clear writing are a joy to read, he captures life exactly as it is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, I'm a new fan. This is a great book, great writer. Good story, once you pick it up, you won't put it down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kent Haruf must be one of the greatest authors out there. I picked Plainsong up a few months ago because it was a staff-recommended pick at a bookstore and was blown away. I picked up The Tie That Binds solely for the reason that I had loved Plainsong so much, and I was far from disappointed. Mr. Haruf's ability to create 'real' people and express their emotions and thoughts is amazing. He is truly a treasure of an author and I don't know why he doesn't appear on every bestseller list that's out there. I will be reading ALL his stuff. I wish I was still in college and could move to wherever he teaches and take a class from him. I have recommended him to every book-lover I know.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book, was inspired to read it after reading Plainsong. It is sometimes slow moving, the narrator's (Sanders Roscoe) asides stalled the story at times, but I love Haruf's use of language, and the way his plain spoken characters relate to each other. Roscoe is a wonderful character, the setting is great, the story is well told and worth reading. Could have done without some of the violent scenes, though. All in all, well worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As all his books, I really enjoyed it. He always does such a wonderful job of story telling and painting a picture of the characters and life in a small community.