Friday, 7 October 2016

The Tie That Binds

I had read four of Kent Haruf's novels when our book club chose this book.
You can read about those books here.
You will see that I am not a fan of this author, but he has a huge number of very loyal fans.  On to the book...

Edith Goodnough, 80, is in the hospital and has been charged with murder.  The whole novel is a recital of her life in order to explain that charge.  This litany of her life is given by Sanders Roscoe, her closest neighbour in this untamed wilderness.
Fans of this author seem to love his descriptions of the hard life of those who work the land, especially in the early 1900's. The ranch is in Holt, Colorado.  And perhaps we should call it a farm- ranch sounds too appealing and her life was complete drudgery.
Fans also love this author's characters.  Edith is a hard-working, thoughtful woman who sacrifices her whole life for her family.  Her father is a tyrant, especially after he has an accident with the machinery.
The story is told in anger by the neighbour Sanders in a straightforward, linear fashion. I would have preferred an omniscient narrator who could describe the thoughts and emotions of Edith.  Also we might have been able to better understand the venomous, belligerent father.

I rather enjoyed the central part of the novel, when I was anxious to know how Edith's life turned out.  But towards the end, I just wanted to get it over.

But...don't listen to me on this.  One of his fans said,
"I highly recommend this beautifully descriptive and powerful look at a woman of strength and labor-intensive farm life in Holt, Colorado".

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