Author: Kent Haruf
Publication Year: 2013
Source: Edelweiss and Amazon Vine
Date Completed: April - 2013
Intro Quote -- "WHEN THE TEST came back the nurse called them into the examination room and when the doctor entered the room he just looked at them and asked them to sit down. They could tell by the look on his face where matters stood."
....so begins Benediction, the 3rd in novel by this author set in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado.
It's a wonderful story about small town life, and while it is pretty evident from the beginning paragraph someone will probably die in this novel, it is never depressing. The terminally ill character in this book is Dad Lewis, age 79, and dying of lung cancer.
Dad Lewis has owned the hardware store in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado for years, and with just months to live, and his wife Mary by his side, he is working at settling his affairs. The character's in this novel are all memorable. Dad's grown daughter Lorraine comes home to help her mother care for dad. Dad also has a gay son named Frank who left home years ago when rejected by his dad when he first learned that he was homosexual. Dad and Mary try to find Frank before it's too late.
The harsh words that separated father and son -- Dad asks his son...."What are you anyways?" His son replies, "I'm just your boy. That's all I am."
There are also a number of neighbors: Berta, a woman in her 80's who is raising her 8 year-old granddaughter, Alice. Neighbors, Wila and Alene, and Reverend Lyle who has his own family problems and controversy surrounding him.
If you tend to shy away from stories when you know someone is ill or going to die, I urge you not to do so with this novel. It's not depressing, it life-affirming, and reminds us home making peace with the past is important. This is story was a vivid reminder of life, family and losing a loved one. Having enjoyed this story so much, I hope to read the author's first two novels, Plainsong and Eventide as well.