Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Plainsong by Kent Harf

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Rating: 5/5

What It’s About:

A heartstrong story of family and romance, tribulation and tenacity, set on the High Plains east of Denver.

In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl—her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house—is pregnant, alone herself, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they’ve ever known.

From these unsettled lives emerges a vision of life, and of the town and landscape that bind them together—their fates somehow overcoming the powerful circumstances of place and station, their confusion, curiosity, dignity and humor intact and resonant. As the milieu widens to embrace fully four generations, Kent Haruf displays an emotional and aesthetic authority to rival the past masters of a classic American tradition.


My first 5 star book of 2022

Plainsong is my first 5 star book of 2022 and I absolutely loved reading it. This is the first of a 3 book series. The writing style was different than what I usually read, so it took me a bit to get used to. But there was something simple and eloquent in Haruf’s writing style that matched the small town setting of Colorado. I haven’t found the time period of when the book takes place, but it’s possibly around the 1960’s or 1970’s. One of my favorite things about the story was the setting. As mentioned earlier, this book takes place in a small town called Holt. It is one of those towns where everyone knows everyone…and their business! The setting also includes scenes of the beautiful country, small town life, and a cattle ranch.

The book follows several different main characters of different genders, ages, and professions. These unique characters all intertwine together into a well developed story. I was able to connect at some level to each one. I felt a wide range of emotions as a made my way through the story. Some themes that this book includes are: divorce/separation in a family, teen pregnancy, lives of the elderly, found families, sadness, loneliness, and love.

I’m sorry that this review is so short, but everything is woven together tightly that it would take alot of explaining and reveals to share more. I might even buy more of the series if they are ever on sale. Plainsong also reminded me about another book I read last year, Valentine by Elizabeth Whetmore. You can read my review on Valentine here. It had very similar characteristics (but I enjoyed Plainsong more).

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought.



  1. […] Indian Horse was an amazing book for me to experience. It was a fast read and only 200ish pages. I’m amazed that Richard Wagamese was able to fit such an incredible story in so few pages. I just loved his writing style. The story is told first person from the point of view of the main character, Saul Indian Horse. Wagamese has a simple yet poetic way of telling the story. I was fascinated when the story would talk about nature, Saul’s connection to it, and his memories of life before the residential school. His writing style reminded me of one of my other 5 star books this year, Plainsong by Kent Haruf. […]

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