Plainsong (novel)

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Plainsong
Author Kent Haruf
Country United States
Language English
Genre action
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date
October 1999
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 301
ISBN 0-375-40618-2
OCLC 41272953
813/.54 21
LC Class PS3558.A716 P58 1999

Plainsong is a bestselling novel by Kent Haruf. Set in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado, it tells the interlocking stories of some of the inhabitants.

The title comes from a type of unadorned music sung in Christian churches, and is a reference to both the Great Plains setting and the simple style of the writing.

Plot summary[edit]

The book follows several stories of families in a small town in eastern Colorado. Maggie is the link between many of the other characters and strands of the novel. She introduces Victoria to the McPheron brothers, and has a romantic relationship with Tom.
The novel was adapted in 2004 into a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie on CBS.

Central characters[edit]

  • Tom Guthrie, a history teacher whose wife is growing more distant and disturbed.
  • Ike and Bobby, Tom's young sons.
  • Victoria Roubideaux, one of Tom's teenage pupils. When Victoria becomes pregnant, her alcoholic mother forces her to leave the house.
  • Raymond and Harold McPheron, bachelor farmers who give Victoria a home and care for her.
  • Maggie Jones, another schoolteacher at the local school who first takes in Victoria, but her dad forces her to kick Victoria out.

Critical reception[edit]

The New York Times called it "a novel so foursquare, so delicate and lovely, that it has the power to exalt the reader" and Salon described reading the book as "like being in an expertly piloted small plane, finding yourself flying low and smooth over the suddenly wondrous world below". Plainsong won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award, the Maria Thomas Award in Fiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the New Yorker Book Award.

External links[edit]