Our Souls at Night

Kent Haruf
Thursday, Mar 24, 2016

A quick read with a poignant message, Our Souls at Night is a moving story of two elderly neighbors who find themselves lonely after both their spouses have gone, one by choice and one by death. In an act of bravery, Addie visits her longtime neighbor, Louis, and propositions him to be her sleeping partner. Addie has no hidden agenda or sordid intent; just a desire to sleep next to another person again. Taking her up on her offer, Louis and Addie get to know each other all while sharing their nights together. A wrench is thrown into their arrangement when Addie’s six-year-old grandson needs to stay with her for a period. Our charming couple must grapple with the way their behaviors appear to the outside observer, and even more significantly, how they appear to their families.

This is a story of the purest kind of love. The pages flow effortlessly with a poetic rhythm. I am enchanted by the characters, moved by the modesty and simplicity of Addie and Louis’ relationship; it’s so powerful. Like finding a hidden brook that’s untainted by intruders, this is a beautiful story of which I almost feel protective.

If you find this type of tale moving, you will likely enjoy the 2012 French subtitled movie, Amour. After a lifetime spent together, how do you cope with an ailing spouse who no longer embodies the person you’ve come to depend on? Like Our Souls at Night, this too is the love story of an older couple, told with a simplicity that has the power to evoke genuine emotion.

Or try Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. When widowed Major Pettigrew meets the town’s new bookstore owner, Mrs. Ali, he is forced to reassess his longstanding curmudgeonly attitude. As in Our Souls at Night, this novel illuminates the way older couples who seek new intimate relationships are influenced by both their children and societal pressures. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is a little more upbeat, with a charming cadence that will pull in the sentimental reader.

Caitlin T.

Written by Caitlin T.

Fun fact: I run a fun and unique food based book club at Corinth that meets on the 2nd Monday of the month, complete with a potluck and guest speaker! Check it out: http://www.meetup.com/An-Edible-Discussion-at-the-Corinth-Library/