Eventide

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Eventide

by Kent Haruf

May 4, 2004 | Hardcover |

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One of the most beloved novels in recent years, Plainsong was a best-seller from coast to coast-and now Kent Haruf returns to the High Plains community of Holt, Colorado, with a story of even more masterful authority.

When the McPheron brothers see Victoria Roubideaux, the single mother they'd taken in, move from their ranch to begin college, an emptiness opens before them-and for many other townspeople it also promises to be a long, hard winter. A young boy living alone with his grandfather helps out a neighbor whose husband, off in Alaska, suddenly isn't coming home, leaving her to raise their two daughters. At school the children of a disabled couple suffer indignities that their parents know all too well in their own lives, with only a social worker to look after them and a violent relative to endanger them further. But in a small town a great many people encounter one another frequently, often surprisingly, and destinies soon become entwined-for good and for ill-as they confront events that sorely test the limits of their resilience and means, with no refuge available except what their own character and that of others afford them.

Spring eventually does reach across the land, and how the people of Eventide get there makes for an engrossing, profoundly moving novel rich in the wisdom, humor, and humanity for which Kent Haruf is justly acclaimed.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 Pages, 6.3 × 1.18 × 9.45 in

Published: May 4, 2004

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375411585

ISBN - 13: 9780375411588

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Eventide

Eventide

by Kent Haruf

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 Pages, 6.3 × 1.18 × 9.45 in

Published: May 4, 2004

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375411585

ISBN - 13: 9780375411588

Read from the Book

They came up from the horse barn in the slanted light of early morning. The McPheron brothers, Harold and Raymond. Old men approaching an old house at the end of summer. They came on across the gravel drive past the pickup and the car parked at the hogwire fencing and came one after the other through the wire gate. At the porch they scraped their boots on the saw blade sunken in the dirt, the ground packed and shiny around it from long use and mixed with barnlot manure, and walked up the plank steps onto the screened porch and entered the kitchen where the nineteen-year-old girl Victoria Roubideaux sat at the pinewood table feeding oatmeal to her little daughter. In the kitchen they removed their hats and hung them on pegs set into a board next to the door and began at once to wash up at the sink. Their faces were red and weather-blasted below their white foreheads, the coarse hair on their round heads grown iron-gray and as stiff as the roached mane of a horse. When they finished at the sink they each in turn used the kitchen towel to dry off, but when they began to dish up their plates at the stove the girl made them sit down. There''s no use in you waiting on us, Raymond said. I want to, she said. I''ll be gone tomorrow. She rose with the child on her hip and brought two coffee cups and two bowls of oatmeal and a plate of buttered toast to the table and then sat down again. Harold sat eyeing the oatmeal. You think she might of at least give us steak and eggs this once, he
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From the Publisher

One of the most beloved novels in recent years, Plainsong was a best-seller from coast to coast-and now Kent Haruf returns to the High Plains community of Holt, Colorado, with a story of even more masterful authority.

When the McPheron brothers see Victoria Roubideaux, the single mother they'd taken in, move from their ranch to begin college, an emptiness opens before them-and for many other townspeople it also promises to be a long, hard winter. A young boy living alone with his grandfather helps out a neighbor whose husband, off in Alaska, suddenly isn't coming home, leaving her to raise their two daughters. At school the children of a disabled couple suffer indignities that their parents know all too well in their own lives, with only a social worker to look after them and a violent relative to endanger them further. But in a small town a great many people encounter one another frequently, often surprisingly, and destinies soon become entwined-for good and for ill-as they confront events that sorely test the limits of their resilience and means, with no refuge available except what their own character and that of others afford them.

Spring eventually does reach across the land, and how the people of Eventide get there makes for an engrossing, profoundly moving novel rich in the wisdom, humor, and humanity for which Kent Haruf is justly acclaimed.

About the Author

Kent Haruf's honors include a Whiting Foundation Award and a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation. His most recent novel, Plainsong, won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award and was 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 his native Colorado.

Editorial Reviews

"Beautifully crafted and moving . . . Holt, Colorado [is] a town as fully realized and richly imagined as Faulkner''s Jefferson, Mississippi." --Bill Marvel, Dallas Morning News "[ Eventide ] possesses the haunting appeal of music, the folksy rhythms of an American ballad and the lovely, measured grace of an old hymn . . . Mr. Haruf''s understated prose, combined with his emotional wisdom and his easy affection for his characters turns [the novel''s] events into affecting drama. In mapping the postage-stamp-size world of Holt, he has limned the loneliness of the people there and their resilience and capacity for hope."--Michiko Kakutani, New York Times "There''s a decency that shines in the very accuracy with which [Haruf] describes the ordinary. Scene after scene, from cattle auction to back-booth seduction . . . flows by us as clear as spring water, proof that truth, like virtue, has its own reward."--Michael Harris, Los Angeles Times Book Review " Eventide is admirably austere: Haruf handles even potentially explosive scenes with delicacy." --Margaret Quamme, Columbus Dispatch "[Haruf] makes average people in fictional Holt, Colo., interesting, much like legendary Texas writer Horton Foote, [and] finds beauty and sadness in everyday life." --Kathy Harris, Fort Worth Star-Telegram " Eventide is a lovely novel, all the more for its uncomprimising realism, its eschewing of the magical pallative of happy endings, its recog
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Bookclub Guide

1. Two elderly bachelors living on an isolated ranch in eastern Colorado-not what one would immediately consider an exciting premise for a work of fiction. How does Kent Haruf transform the mundane materials of his characters and setting into such an emotionally compelling story?

2. In what ways does Eventide deepen readers' relationships with those characters who also inhabit Haruf's previous novel Plainsong? How are the two novels alike? In what ways are they significantly different?

3. What kind of men are Harold and Raymond McPheron? What are their most distinctive and appealing characteristics? What makes them so likable?

4. Why does Haruf interweave, in alternating chapters, the stories of the McPheron brothers and Victoria Roubideaux, Luther and Betty Wallace and Rose Tyler, Hoyt Raines, DJ Kephart and his grandfather, and Mary Wells and her daughters? How are their lives interconnected? In what ways do they represent a wide spectrum of American society?

5. When Tom Guthrie and his sons finish separating the cows and their calves, Ike Guthrie says, "They make an awful lot of noise. . . . They don't seem to like it much." To which Tom replies, "They never do like it. . . . I can't imagine anything or anybody that would like it. But every living thing in this world gets weaned eventually" [p. 155]. How does this statement illuminate the central themes of Eventide? In what ways is the novel about the pain of separation, of getting "weaned"?

6. Haruf's writing, like the speech of the characters he writes about, is restrained, as when Raymond calls Victoria to tell her of Harold's death:
Honey, I got something to tell you.
Oh, no, she said. Oh no. No.
I'm just afraid I do, he said. And then he told her [p. 80].
Why does Haruf end the conversation there? Why is it more moving to let the reader imagine the rest of the conversation than to describe it more completely? Where else in the novel does Haruf show this kind of reserve?

7. When Del Gutierrez tells Raymond that he can't see how just one man can run the ranch-"It seems like too much for one person to do"-Raymond responds, "What else you going to do?" [p. 233]. How does this response typify Raymond's attitude about life and his own predicament?

8. When Raymond worries that they might have to wait until seven-thirty to have dinner, Rose says, "You wouldn't do very well in New York or Paris, would you," and Raymond replies: "I wouldn't even do very good in Fort Morgan" [p. 255]. Why wouldn't Raymond do well in a big city? In what ways is he suited to, and a product of, the rural life of the high plains?

9. Why has Haruf included a character like Hoyt Raines in the novel? What does he add to the emotional texture of the book?

10. Parent-child relationships are important in Eventide. What kinds of behavior does the novel dramatize between parents (or grandparents or surrogate parents) and children? How are children seen and treated by their elders in the book? What are the best and worst examples of parent-child relationships in Eventide?

11. Near the end of the novel, Luther and Betty Wallace's children are placed in a foster home. Why does the court make this decision? Is it the right one? Does Haruf intend for readers to regard Luther and Betty critically, sympathetically, or with some mixture of feelings?

12. Why is the budding romance between Rose and Raymond so appealing? Why must Raymond be tricked into meeting her? Why are they so drawn to each other?

13. Eventide ends with Raymond and Rose sitting together quietly, "the old man with his arm around this kind woman, waiting for what would come" [p. 300]. Why is this a satisfying way to end the novel? What is likely to come for them? Literary works often imply, if only implicitly, a set of values to live by. What attitudes and values does Eventide seem to hold up for emulation?

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