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Benediction by Kent Haruf, Mark Bramhall

A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385363617
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/26/2013
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Kent Haruf’s honors include a Whiting Foundation Writers’ Award, the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award, the Wallace Stegner Award, and a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation; he has also been 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 their native Colorado.


South Central Mountains of Colorado

Date of Birth:

February 24, 1943

Place of Birth:

Pueblo, Colorado


B.A., Nebraska Wesleyan University, 1965; M.F.A., Iowa University (Writers' Workshop), 1973

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Benediction 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Benediction could be Kent Haruf's finest novel, yet. Haruf is absolutely gifted when it comes to fleshing out the details and nuances of life in small town Holt, CO. This book gives the reader the opportunity to explore death, life, love, bigotry and small mindedness. This novel is simply sublime.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a pastor, I have the privilege of giving blessings. This novel reminds us that we bless one another through kind acts, for in doing so we affirm another person's worth as a human. Mary "blesses" the attendant with her note. The pastor "blesses" his assailants by turning the other cheek. Sometimes, sadly, opportunities for "blessing" another person, and the positive ripple effects, are passed by. The most blessed benediction is to end life surrounded by loved ones and to die in/with/at peace. A lovely novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Kent Haruf's books and they are all wonderful. I like his style of writing that lets you just sit back and enjoy the story and picture the characters, without alot of confusing dialog, too many names to remember, and impossible to imagine situations. He simply tells a wonderful story with people in the story that you wish you lived next door to. So many times while reading this I found myself smiling without even realizing it, and sometimes tearful. I read it in 2 days and wish it would have been about a thousand pages longer because I did not want it to end. I will absolutely read it a second time. One of my favorites without a doubt.
aliantha More than 1 year ago
Kent Haruf is one of my favorite authors. His spare prose is perfect for the plain, small-town folks who people his novels, and their stories are compelling for all their simplicity. It's giving nothing away to tell you that the main character in "Benediction," Dad Lewis, is dying; he receives the diagnosis on the book's very first page. His reaction, and that of his wife and daughter, make up much of the book. But their friends' lives, and the lives of those with whom they come in contact, also come into play here. And just like anyone else, Dad Lewis has regrets and those come into play here as well. "Benediction" is an unsentimental, yet very moving, depiction of the end of a good man's life. I'd rank it right up there with "Plainsong" as one of Haruf's best books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a quiet, contemplative story about endings, but it isn't a sad tale. Haruf writes in what seems like such a simple way that you are taken on a journey full of meaning without realizing what is happening to you as you read. I have enjoyed all his books in this trilogy, but perhaps this one even more than the others.
Novembers_Saturday More than 1 year ago
This is the 3rd and probably last story about Holt and the people on the high plains. A story about complicated lives in an uncomplicated place. Haruf reminds us our own lives are both fragile and durable at the same time and in the end life goes on. A few light moments and lots of tears in this one.
Two2dogs More than 1 year ago
I LOVED THIS BOOK! I did not grow up in a small town but just loved all the "real" characters and could especially relate to the passing of Dad Lewis, my Dad too passed away at home with the help of Hospice, so really felt that part of the story, the end made me smile.
DoranneLongPTMS More than 1 year ago
I think this book is exceptionally well written, with great attention to accurate, and very real, details. I found his dialogue interesting as there are no quotation marks; I had to stay alert to who was saying what. I will be reading more of Kent Haruf's works.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Livanlearn More than 1 year ago
a sweet book. The story of life that a lot of people can relate to. This is the first book I have read by this author, but I will read more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the way Haruf writes, and his insight into human behavior is remarkable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply wonderful. You will want to read everything this masterful storyteller has published.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So touching and heartfelf. Beautifully written.
Elaine75 More than 1 year ago
Haruf again is able to make you understand his characters,their lives and deaths. He portrays common people who are dealing with everyday things in their lives. This story is poignant and a wonderful read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kent Haruf is one of the premier writers of today. His series of books, starting with "Plainsong" are so well written. I would suggest reading his books in order of publication as they are connected.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel slows you down and let's you sink into the life of an American community which still carries the values of the past as well as the present. The writing is spare and economical but transcends the vernacular of the Colorado townspeople with a poetic grace. Reading it is like a meditation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago