By Kent Haruf
Knopf, $25.95, 258 pages
Benediction, by Kent Haruf, is a story about life, death and what happens in between the two. During the last days of “Dad” Lewis’s life, he is made as comfortable as possible by his wife, his daughter and the various community members who drop in regularly as he slowly succumbs to terminal cancer. Dad loses himself to his illness, but not before he takes readers through flashbacks and imagined meetings with friends as he says good-bye.
Haruf spins his story well, drawing a quaint picture of small town life by offering little stories about different people who make up the community of Holt, Colorado – all of whom tie into Dad’s life somehow. Overall, the book is encouraging and heartwarming. The only problem for some might be the punctuation, or lack of it. Haruf does not punctuate dialogue at all, while other areas are punctuated sparsely. The good news is that his style is not impossible to get used to; but for those readers who care about punctuation and would notice if an appositive weren’t punctuated correctly, approach with caution.
Reviewed by Nicole Green