Extended Audio Sample

Download Benediction Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Benediction Audiobook, by Kent Haruf Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,335 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kent Haruf Narrator: Mark Bramhall Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2013 ISBN: 9780385363624
Regular Price: $17.50 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $15.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

From the beloved and bestselling author of Plainsong and Eventide comes a story of life and death and the ties that bind, once again set on the high plains in Holt, Colorado.

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.

Despite the travails that each of these families faces, together they form bonds strong enough to carry them through the most difficult of times. 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.

Download and start listening now!

BK_RAND_003420

Quotes & Awards

  • 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. Ben Goldstein, Esquire
  • 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. Karen R. Long, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • Haruf is maguslike in his gifts. . . to illuminate the inevitable ways in which tributary lives meander toward confluence. . . . Perhaps not since Hemingway has an American author triggered such reader empathy with so little reliance on the subjectivity of his characters. . . . [This] is a modestly wrought wonder from one of our finest living writers. Bruce Machart, The Houston Chronicle
  • Both sad and surprisingly uplifting in its honest and skillful examination of death, families and friendship. Jason Swensen, Deseret News
  • “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

  • We’ve waited a long time for an invitation back to Holt, home to Kent Haruf’s novels. . . He may be the most muted master in American fiction [and] Benediction seems designed to catch the sound of those fleeting good moments [with] scenes Hemingway might have written had he survived. Ron Charles, Washington Post
  • A lovely book, surprisingly rich in character and event without any sense of being crowded. . . . Haruf is a master in summing up the drama that already exists in life, if you just pay attention. Harper Barnes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Absorbing [and] evocative. . . . Haruf doesn’t offer us any facile reconciliations. The blessings in Benediction are [not] easily won. For that very reason they are all the more believable and all the more unforgettable. Richard Wakefield, The Seattle Times
  • Splendid. . . . As the expertly crafted structure of Benediction emerges, it becomes clear that [Haruf's many] characters trace the arc of a life. . . as we join [a good but flawed man] in his deepening appreciation for those around him, while counting down the remaining hours, in his life and our own. Mike Fischer, Portland Press Herald
  • Remarkable. . . . Haruf paints indelible portraits of drifting days that reveal unexpected blessings. . . . We may not always recognize the best moments—maybe because they are often as simple as eating off the good china at a backyard picnic—but he understands their power to make us human. Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald
  • Itself a blessing. . . spare and unencumbered. . . . Haruf's great skill is in describing the plain ways of people who live in small places [and the war] going on between good and evil that we recognize as part of our nature. This is what makes Benediction a universal story, not a hometown tale. Michael D. Langan, The Buffalo News
  • Quiet, and intimate, and beautiful. Lisa McLendon, The Wichita Eagle
  • If Hemingway had had more soul, he would've written a book like Benediction. Emma Broder, The Chicago Maroon
  • Incisive, elegiac, and rhetorically rich. . . his finest expression yet of an aesthetic vision that, in spite of its exacting verisimilitude, achieves a mythic dimension rare in contemporary fiction. . . . Haruf's art is rigorous but transparent. Scene after scene, we appreciate that we are in the hands of a master of complex storytelling disguised as simple observation. . . . Reading [him], I am often reminded of the great Russian realists, who have a similar compressed intensity and who spent much of their writing time examining the lives of ordinary people living in small communities in wide-open spaces. Kevin Stevens, The Dublin Review of Books
  • Benediction suggests there’s no end to the stories Haruf can tell about Holt or to the tough, gorgeous language he can summon in the process. Paul Elie, The New York Times Book Review
  • As Haruf's precise details accrue, a reader gains perspective: This is the story of a man's life, and the town where he spent it, and the people who try to ease its end. . . . His sentences have the elegance of Hemingway's early work [and his] determined realism, which admits that not all of our past actions or the reasons behind them are knowable, even to ourselves, is one of the book's satisfactions. John Reimringer, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  • Reverberant… From the terroir and populace of his native American West, the author of Plainsong and Eventide again draws a story elegant in its simple telling and remarkable in its authentic capture of universal human emotions. Brad Hooper, Booklist
  • His finest-tuned tale yet. . . . There is a deep, satisfying music to this book, as Haruf weaves between such a large cast of characters in so small a space. . . . Strangely, wonderfully, the moment of a man's passing can be a blessing in the way it brings people together. Benediction recreates this powerful moment so gracefully it is easy to forget that, like [the town of] Holt, it is a world created by one man. John Freeman, The Boston Globe
  • A quiet and profound statement about endings, about change and death and endurance, and about the courage it takes to finally let go. . . . What's remarkable is Haruf's ability, once again, to square quotidian events with what it means to be alive and bound in ordinary pleasure with ordinary people [with] a matter-of-fact tone, with spare declarative sentences and plain-speak among the characters that is, in its bare-bones clarity, often heartbreakingly authentic. Debra Gwartney, The Oregonian
  • What Haruf makes of this patch of ground is magic [and] Benediction spreads its blessing over the entire town.  Haruf isn’t interested in evil so much as the frailties that defeat us – loneliness, a failure to connect with one another, the lack of courage to change. . . . [He] makes us admire his characters’ ability not only to carry on but also to enjoy simple pleasures. Dan Cryer, San Francisco Chronicle
  • Benediction suggests there’s no end to the stories Haruf can tell about Holt or to the tough, gorgeous language he can summon in the process.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • In Benediction, as in his previous four novels…it’s the restraint of Haruf’s storytelling that provides its power and its grace. 

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “Haruf writes with a tense, quiet realism that elevates life and death, granting both a dignity that touches on poetry.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “He produces the kind of scenes that Hemingway might have written had he survived the ravages of depression.”

    Washington Post

  • “Haruf’s finest-tuned tale yet.”

    Boston Globe

  • “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, [Benediction] is indeed a blessing.” 

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Perhaps not since Hemingway has an American author triggered such reader empathy with so little reliance on the subjectivity of his characters…[This] is a modestly wrought wonder from one of our finest living writers.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “Remarkable…Haruf paints indelible portraits of drifting days that reveal unexpected blessings.”

    Miami Herald

  • “A lovely book, surprisingly rich in character and event without any sense of being crowded…Haruf is a master in summing up the drama that already exists in life, if you just pay attention.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “His sentences have the elegance of Hemingway’s early work [and his] determined realism, which admits that not all of our past actions or the reasons behind them are knowable, even to ourselves, is one of the book’s satisfactions.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “Heartbreakingly authentic.”

    Oregonian

  • “Splendid…As the expertly crafted structure of Benediction emerges, it becomes clear that [Haruf’s many] characters trace the arc of a life.”

    Portland Press Herald

  • “Haruf’s great skill is in describing the plain ways of people who live in small places [and the war] going on between good and evil that we recognize as part of our nature. This is what makes Benediction a universal story, not a hometown tale.”

    Buffalo News

  • “Both sad and surprisingly uplifting in its honest and skillful examination of death, families and friendship.” 

    Deseret News

  • “Separately and together, all the characters are trying to live—and in Dad’s case, to die—with dignity, a struggle Haruf renders with delicacy and skill.”

    Publishers Weekly (Pick of the Week)

  • “Haruf captures the sadness and hardship, the joys and triumphs behind the lives of ordinary people. Benediction has an understated Our Town quality that’s all the more powerful in the hands of this master storyteller. This is exceptional fiction not to be missed.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Haruf isn’t interested in the trendy or urban; as he once said, he writes about ‘regular, ordinary, sort of elemental’ characters, who speak simply and often don’t speak much at all. ‘Regular and ordinary’ can equate with dull. However, though this is a quiet book, it’s not a boring one. Dad and his family and neighbors try, in small, believable ways, to make peace with those they live among, to understand a world that isn’t the one in which they came of age. Separately and together, all the characters are trying to live—and in Dad’s case, to die—with dignity, a struggle Haruf renders with delicacy and skill.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Mark Bramhall gives an emotional performance of this melancholy slice of life in a small town. Author Kent Haruf once again focuses on various characters who live in the town of Holt, Colorado. Bramhall will have listeners in tears, yet uplifted, as he voices Dad Lewis, an elderly man who is dying of cancer with dignity and just a few regrets. Other characters revolving around Dad’s end-of-life experience are portrayed with vulnerability and grace as they deal with situations of their own. Bramhall lets the characters’ stories unfold slowly, lingering over the details that capture the essence of life in a small town, as well as the sorrow of bereavement. Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for March 2013
  • Selected for the March 2013 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2013
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2013 in Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Notty | 2/17/2014

    " Oh my goodness! Started it yesterday and just finished it! Used a little Kleenex while reading! Very, very different, but an awesome read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sue | 2/16/2014

    " A perfect lovely story. The main character, Dad Lewis, has been told he is dying from cancer and does not have long to live. This is an uplifting book because of the neighbors, friends, and family whose lives he touched and decisions he made on their behalf. A benediction is something that "promotes goodness and well-being". "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 2/8/2014

    " Everyone seems desolate and unhappy and dissatisfied but in this kind of accepting, inevitable way. The characters all seem to have the same calm, unemotional, removed approach to life. Even though the notion of a blessing or recognize your blessings is clearly present in the text, I couldn't get past the lack of variability in the characters. It felt too artificial "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy | 2/8/2014

    " I always feel as though Kent Haruf has just finished telling me a story when I complete one of his books. Benediction is another beautiful story of the holy, ordinary lives of the people of Holt, CO. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara Dzikowski | 2/5/2014

    " A poignant and wonderful book. Haruf has a gift of conveying so much depth in beautifully simple language. Many truths about life in this book that give readers much to ponder. It was a joy to read, and I'll be seeking out more from this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christie D | 1/27/2014

    " I may have given this a four but it is my least favorite of the Kent Haruf books that I have read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzanne | 1/19/2014

    " Haruf is such a beautiful writer and his stories are so plain and evocative that I love to read them slowly. I love to get lost in his world. This is a wonderful story about everything and all things of living and dying. It is a joy to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adele Stratton | 1/15/2014

    " Absolutely stunning. Mark Bramhall is as talented a narrator as Haruf is a writer. Together they are incredible. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Francesca | 12/31/2013

    " Haruf captures the essence of a small town in Colorado and the human events that bind family and neighbors together. A symphony of poignant experiences and remembrances. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janice Nelson | 12/9/2013

    " This book started off great but never really dug into the meat of the story. I felt the ending was rushed. I wondered if perhaps pages were missing. I so enjoyed Plainsong and Eventide and wanted more from this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 12/2/2013

    " Beautiful simple prose. Sometimes a little sweet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 10/31/2013

    " Haruf's writing is simple; his characters true. Lovely book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna | 10/28/2013

    " "The precious ordinary". Quiet and moving story. Economically written. Enjoyable but only 3 stars from me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 9/29/2013

    " I read this book in one sitting. While there is great sadness with the diagnosis of terminal cancer of Dad Lewis, there is also grace with how his wife, daughter and friends handle the situation. So well written, you never want it to end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Norma | 8/13/2013

    " I think Haruf takes you to a hot dry Colorado town and introduces you to complicated characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 8/10/2013

    " Interesting read. Very thoughtful. Darker than his other books "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanne | 8/7/2013

    " An unusual theme but a quick read. For some reason, I had to keep reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth Crawford | 7/20/2013

    " Liked this book. Tried to love it but didn't. It was kind of...boring... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katherine | 7/14/2013

    " The writing is no frills, but Haruf can really set a scene with an economy of words. I'm probably partial to these books because the setting is so reminiscent of my home town, but I still think the characters, stories, and emotions will ring true for others as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda Brownlee | 5/29/2013

    " A perfect book. Sparsely written. Brilliant dialogues between Dad who is dying and his wife and daughter and absent son Frank. Top 10 books of 2013. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 5/20/2013

    " I think Kent Haruf is officially my favorite writer. It's hard to put into words how moving I find his books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Morgan Egge kiedrowski | 2/5/2013

    " I know kent haruf is a great writer but that doesn't make for the fact that this is by far the most depressing I've ever read, I wish I had never read it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kellie | 2/3/2013

    " Couldn't decide between 4 and 5. One of the best I've read in awhile, "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Kent Haruf

Kent Haruf (1943–2014) was the author of Plainsong, which received the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Maria Thomas Award in Fiction, and the New Yorker Book Award. It was also a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award. His novel The Tie That Binds received a Whiting Foundation Award and a special citation from the Pen/Hemingway Foundation. In 2006 he was awarded the Dos Passos Prize for Literature. All of his novels are set in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado, which is loosely based on Yuma, Colorado, where the author lived in the 1980s.

About the Narrator

Mark Bramhall has won eighteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been a finalist for the Audiobook Publishers Association’s prestigious Audie Award for best narration. He has been named by Publishers Weekly and AudioFile magazine among their “Best Voices of the Year” in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. He is also an award-winning actor whose acting credits include off-Broadway, regional, and many Los Angeles venues as well as television, animation, and feature films. He has taught and directed at the American Academy of Dramatic Art.