“Dad” Lewis, the owner of the hardware store in town, does not have many weeks left. He is dying of lung cancer. He has always been a man of few words who was not known for his compassion. His faithful wife is worn out and exhausted from taking care of him. So, their fifty-something daughter comes back to the little Colorado plains town to help out. They have a son, too. He is gay… and estranged, living somewhere in Denver, they think. The widow lady across the street is raising her young granddaughter who Dad loves having around. The mother and daughter team, known as the Johnsons are lovely ladies with an interesting past. The preacher is an idealist who incurs the ire of almost everybody in his life when he speaks honestly from the pulpit.
Their lives are intertwined. They seem like simple people, but are actually a mesh-mash of so many experiences and opinions, they are complex, pulled in different directions, like we all are. The little plains town of Holt, Colorado seems like a dead end, but is incredibly rich with community. The characters speak in a simple, rural, but slightly quirky and insightful manner that cuts to the chase and makes you smile.
It is fast read about people that seem so real they remind me of me. They face issues as real and as a contemporary as those of anyone in a big city or anywhere would eventually have to confront. It’s humorous, touching, and a little bit salacious. Holt, Colorado seems so far away and yet very close.
Kent Haruf is my favorite novelist and is also the author of The Tie That Binds, Where You Once Belonged, Plainsong, and Eventide. They are all great stories!