Kent Haruf’s Plainsong is a quiet, subtle, and beautifully written novel about a fictional rural town in Colorado. Everything about it is understated. Haruf portrays a diverse range of heart-warming characters vividly, with elegance, simplicity, and compassion. We come to know these characters even though we are never made privy to their thoughts. The novel has no internal monologues. What dialogue exists between characters is sparse. Haruf reveals his characters through their actions and the few words they say to each other. The reader is drawn in and finds himself/herself invested in their struggles as they cope with the challenges life has thrown in their direction.
It is a beautiful story told with clarity, elegance, and above all, simplicity. We gradually come to know and love the gentle, unassuming characters. Their quiet generosity and the support they give one another in times of crisis is heart-warming and restores one’s faith in the goodness of people.