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Extended Audio Sample Eventide 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 (5,259 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kent Haruf Narrator: George Hearn Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2004 ISBN: 9780739309414
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One of the most beloved novels in recent years, Plainsong was a bestseller 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Melancholy truths set to gorgeous melody . . . Haruf sings the second verse of his moving hymn to life on America’s great plains. Kirkus, starred review
  • Haruf has once again demonstrated that he can push a tale featuring our Western landscape beyond romanticized cowboy myth into distilled reality. Jenny Shank, Rocky Mountain News
  • This hardscrabble story kicks up a dust cloud of melancholy that will sting even the most hardened readers' eyes. At the end of some chapters I was left wondering, Who in America can still write like this? Who else has such confidence and such humility? Ron Charles, Christian Science Monitor

    "A stunning novel of brothers, land, grief, and redemption...The dry, cold air of Colorado's high plains seems to intensify the light Kent Haruf shines on every character in his masterful novel Eventide. He brings such grace and care to his examination of the ways we fail and, sometimes, help one another, that the end result is a book of hope, hope as plain and hard-won as Haruf's keenly styled prose.--Mark Doty, O Magazine
  • This novelist writes with such unabashed wonder before life's mysteries, such compassion for frail humanity that he seems to have issued from another time, a better place. Dan Cryer, Newsday
  • Masterful... A full and satisfying novel complete unto itself [that] might be even more emotionally powerful than its predecessor . . . Karen Sandstrom, Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • In creating a place whose people are tethered to each other by history and emotion as much as place, Haruf's work is now competing with Faulkner's Mississippi, Sherwood Anderon's Midwest, and Wallace Stegner's northern California. Mark Athitakis, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Luminous . . . Haruf's uncanny ability to stay out of his characters' way is evident again in Eventide. What comes out of their mouths, whether it is kind, mean, ignorant, confused, intelligent or clouded by loneliness, is true and hard, spare as life on the plains . . . Eventide depicts a time, a place and its people so sincerely and so compellingly, with moments of such rare beauty, that the reader cannot walk away. Kathryn Eastburn, Colorado Springs Independent
  • Like the lives he chronicles, Haruf's prose moves relentlessly forward, catching in his images the fierceness and sweetness of experience.
  • --Mickey Pearlman, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  • "Haruf is the author of some of the best fiction about American small-town and rural life being written today. As readers of Plainsong know, Haruf's taut, unsentimental storytelling and spare, graceful prose are capable of transporting the imagination to a deeper understanding of human responsibility and connection . . . Eventide offers many of the pleasures of Plainsong: a strong storyline, Haruf's wonderful, unadorned prose and several familiar characters . . . [But it ] takes on very different tonality and complexion from its predecessor. If Plainsong is morning or afternoon on the prairie, then Eventide is dusk; it is filled with a beautiful but somber light. Alden Mudge, BookPage
  • Haruf’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed and bestselling Plainsong is as lovely and accomplished as its predecessor. The aging bachelor McPheron brothers and their beloved charges, Victoria and her daughter, Katie, return (though Victoria quickly heads off to college), and Haruf introduces new folks–a disabled couple and their children, an old man and the grandson who lives with him–in this moving exploration of smalltown lives in rural Holt, Colo. Ranchers Raymond and Harold McPheron have spent their whole lives running land that has been in their family for many generations, so when Harold is killed by an enraged bull, worn-out Raymond faces a void unlike any he has ever known. His subsequent first-ever attempts at courtship and romance are almost heartbreaking in their innocence, but after some missteps, he finds unexpected happiness with kind Rose Tyler. Rose is the caseworker for a poor couple struggling so dimly and futilely to better their lives that it becomes painful to witness. Children play crucial roles in the novel’s tapestry of rural life, and they are not spared life’s trials. But Haruf’s characters, such as 11-year-old orphan DJ Kephart, who cares for his retired railroad worker grandfather, and Mary Wells, whose husband abandons her with two young girls, maintain an elemental dignity no matter how buffeted by adversity. And while there is much sadness and hardship in this portrait of a community, Haruf’s sympathy for his characters, no matter how flawed they are, make this an uncommonly rich novel. Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • 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 recognition that decency carries its own unique rewards. Joan Mellen, Baltimore Sun
  • Highly charged and compassionate . . . Every action in Holt casts a long shadow, and the gist of Haruf’s story is what happens when those shadows touch . . . Haruf’s writing draws power from his sense of character–its limitations and its possibilities–and how it propels action. New Yorker
  • A kind book in a cruel world…[with] honest impulses, real people and the occasional workings of grace. Christopher Tilghman, Washington Post
  • "Haruf is a master of evocative description, [and his] lyrical style, which has been compared to that of Hemingway and Chekhov . . . quickly infects the reader with its own peculiar rhythms, to the point at which putting down the book and returning to real-world conversation is jarring. Most important, there is Haruf's spirit, which suggests that people unrelated by blood can and must form families, that a simple act of goodwill can occur even when it seems impossible. Gail Pennington, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    "Haruf's prose style emerges from behind [his] cast with a sober, homespun beauty . . . With Eventide, [he] has made them a permanent addition to the literary map of this country.
  • Haruf's storytelling at its best. Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly
  • Eventide is a spare, delicate and beautiful book [that is] set in a world where an 11-year-old boy and an old bachelor rancher can both experience the wonder of a first kiss . . . Haruf has created another poignant meditation on the true meaning of family. April Henry, Oregonian
  • "[Eventide] is a clear distillation of the writer's craft, a book that grabs you by the heart on the first page, refusing to release its grasp until the last . . . Just as day moves from late afternoon into night, Haruf's characters move inevitably toward, and through, personal challenge, [and] it is through these lives, both distinct and entwined, that Haruf quietly explores all that makes us human. Robin Vidimos, Denver Post
  • A 2005 Book Sense Book of the Year for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 2/15/2014

    " Several of the same characters from Plainsong. Enjoyed this one equally well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Morgan | 2/15/2014

    " Another lovely book by Haruf. I finished Plainsong and wanted nothing more than to find out what else happened in the lives of the characters, so finding out that Eventide existed made me so happy. Eventide didn't disappoint and continued Haruf's lovely writing style and characters. The character's aren't perfect, but they're realistic and alive. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Isabel Wendell | 2/6/2014

    " Loved eveything about this book too "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kati | 1/17/2014

    " This is an amazing book about people doing life and how their lives intertwine. Although it is not as upbeat as Plainsong, this seems to make it more real. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ken | 1/11/2014

    " This book blew me away. It's a quiet story, ultimately, about a handful of characters in a small town -- but it was so affecting. Messed up my own writing, because I started wanting to make every sentence and beat like a Kent Haruf sentence or beat. Still trying to get over that -- or at least not be so obvious about it ;-) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tania | 1/11/2014

    " A sweet tale where everything seems to happen between the lines .. it has you rooting for the happiness of these small town folks whose seemingly simplistic lives are the front for a complex set of emotions "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Lowell | 1/8/2014

    " Kent Haruf has a way of telling a story about mundane events that make them very readable. I'm interested enough to read the first book about these characters called "Plainsong" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 1/4/2014

    " This book allows the reader to dwell for another year with the inhabitants of Holt -- including some old friends from Plainsong and some new aquaintances. Whereas Plainsong united all of its characters into an unlikely extended family at the end, Eventide comes to a close with fewer clear-cut resolutions. Still, the book's beauty lies in the surprising tranformations that take place in ordinary lives. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha | 12/29/2013

    " Eventide is the 2nd in this pair, and is not quite as gratifying as the first. Still a beautiful novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Coral | 12/12/2013

    " Did not like the sequel as well- this left me with more questions then the first one. I liked the ending of Plainsong and didn't think there needed to be a sequel. I missed some of the characters from the first one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott | 12/9/2013

    " A perfect follow-up to Plainsong. A very moving conclusion to a heart-felt journey. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen S | 11/27/2013

    " Good, but. . . not Plainsong. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rhonda | 11/19/2013

    " Excellent, I wholeheartedly recommend anything by Kent Haruf. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathy Stewart | 11/8/2013

    " a truly elegant book. It doesn't beat you over the head with details, but let's you observe the characters, their lives and feelings, like you are looking into their backyard. I read it in one sitting, then had to processed the whole thing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Legge | 11/6/2013

    " Continuation of Plain Song which I loved. Not quite as engaging but still a very nice read for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 brad | 10/27/2013

    " it's the simple, lyrical prose that pushes the book. we all, even those living what seem to be plain lives, have problems, and Haruf artfully shows how people deal. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennie | 9/8/2013

    " I couldn't put it down! I didn't want it to end! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb | 7/12/2013

    " Liked it alot, but I liked Plainsong better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robynn | 6/24/2013

    " Haruf is a master at creating characters that are so real I could almost reach out and touch them. The dialog so true that I could almost believe I was that fly on the wall. His themes of family and struggle are thought-provoking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ray | 5/22/2013

    " Yet another wondrous book written about Holt, Colorado by Haruf. Such wonderful stories and descriptions and character development. I love this author and his works. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 2/13/2013

    " A follow-up to Plainsong--some of the same characters and lots of love and caring expressed. Lots of humor as well as lots of pathos in this one. Easy to read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aly | 11/17/2012

    " Start with Plainsong and then read this. They are both excellent. There is some real sadness in both stories, but neither is unrelentingly sad and both end on good and happy, yet not sappy, notes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeni | 10/2/2012

    " I loved this book. I loved all the characters, and it was very well written. It looks kind of iffy from the cover, but it is good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marsha | 8/29/2012

    " Good. Sequel to Plainsong. Sep 06. LP -- Good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellie | 6/5/2012

    " Great story another good read from this author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 mandy | 3/27/2012

    " its been a long time since I read a book so quickly. The characters and story of Haruf's books are so real, I didn't want the book to end. Definitely read Plainsong first though--this book can stand alone, but I think you get more out of it if you already know the main characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ginger | 1/11/2012

    " did not like this as much as "Plainsong"...very depressing. Too much of a downer for me these days. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lee | 8/4/2011

    " This is my first Kent Haruf book, and it did'nt feel like a sequel. Beautifully written, with simple prose and believeable characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patricia | 7/26/2011

    " I just randomly picked this book up. I don't know anything about it, but the first chapter was good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Isabelle Johnson | 6/7/2011

    " Taking another turn at this because I like it so much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 5/4/2011

    " One of my very favorite contemporary writers... Haruf, Lahiri, Saramago, and McCarthy. His writing is so simple and perfect. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janne | 5/3/2011

    " This was a little slow at the beginning. I finaly got into it - overall, the book was pretty depressing and sad. I didn't really like the writing style - it seemed impersonal for this type of story. I read Plainsong and recall liking it a bit more... not sure I'll read any more books by Haruf. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hannah | 3/9/2011

    " The follow up to Plainsong. This story attempts to move forward, but I feel it falls short. The introduction of new characters doesn't necessarily go over well - but the continuing saga of the McPheron brothers and Victoria is so perfect. That kept me reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debbilyn | 1/28/2011

    " Slow paced sad tale of small town middle america. Had lots of good reviews, but I did not find that it went anywhere. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 1/27/2011

    " Kent Haruf has a way of telling a story about mundane events that make them very readable. I'm interested enough to read the first book about these characters called "Plainsong" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 1/18/2011

    " I'm glad I read this follow-up to Plainsong. I enjoyed expanding on what became of some of the characters I had grown attached to in the first novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annie | 1/13/2011

    " harshness balanced with genuine tenderness. describing several lives loosely woven together, each troubled and each trouble resolved to a greater or lesser degree. "

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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.