Benediction by Kent HarufBenediction
Kent Haruf
Vintage Jan.14

Audio interview Audio Interview With the Author

20-minute audio interview

Editor’s Note: Kent Haruf passed away November 30, 2014 at age 71 after a long illness. We were saddened by the news.

Nationally bestselling author  Kent Haruf’s latest work may be his finest tale yet. Benediction is a quiet and  profound statement about endings.(File could take a minute to load)

In this AUDIO interview we learn that he relies on intuition to write his novels rather than “programming,” and he strives for every word to be the right one. It took him a long time to write well enough to become a published author, and it still takes him a long time to complete a novel. He likes to think that in some sense it is the reader who completes the story.

Haruf is “the master of what one of his characters calls ‘the precious ordinary’  . . . With understated  language and startling emotional insight, he makes you feel awe at even the most basic of human  gestures.”  (Esquire)

Kent Haruf photo by Michael Lionstar

Kent Haruf photo by Michael Lionstar

In Benediction, 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.

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.

“Grace and restraint are abiding virtues in Haruf’s fiction, and they resume their place of privilege in his new work. . . . For readers looking for the rewards of an intimate, meditative story, it is indeed a blessing.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer

BENEDICTION by Kent Haruf was released in January 2014 by Vintage Books, a division of Random House..

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.