Kent Haruf

2014 Nominee

James Tait Black Prize for Fiction

27 February 2014
272 pages


Shortlisted for the Folio Prize
'Unforgettable' Anne Tyler
'Stunningly original' Guardian

One long last summer for Dad Lewis in his beloved town, Holt, Colorado. As old friends pass in and out to voice their farewells and good wishes, Dad's wife and daughter work to make his final days as comfortable as possible, knowing all is tainted by the heart-break of an absent son. Next door, a little girl with a troubled past moves in with her grandmother, and down town another new arrival, the Reverend Rob Lyle, attempts to mend strained relationships of his own.

Utterly beautiful, and devastating yet affirming, Kent Haruf's Benediction explores the pain, the compassion and the humanity of ordinary people.

"The precious ordinary," is the central concern of this remarkable book. Benediction is quiet and nearly uneventful, but it is also unforgettable . . . In the very best sense, it is an old-fashioned novel-virtuous and kind-hearted, dealing with issues that are timeless
In Benediction, a fine contender for the inaugural Folio Prize, Kent Haruf's beautifully spare prose charts the events of that summer with unpretentious aplomb . . . Sensual descriptions of landscape and weather create an impression of timelessness
Haruf handles human relationships with fierce, reticent delicacy, exploring rage, fidelity, pity, honour, timidity, the sense of obligation . . . his courage and achievement in exploring ordinary forms of love - the enduring frustration, the long cost of loyalty, the comfort of daily affection - are unsurpassed by anything I know in contemporary fiction . . . A stunningly original writer in a great many ways . . . He's careful to get the story right. And it is right, it's just right; it rings true