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Where You Once Belonged

1 rating: 4.0
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Why is strapping, impulsive Jack Burdette, legendary bad boy and ex-football hero, promptly thrown into jail when he returns to Holt, Colo., after eight years on the run? The reader discovers the answer halfway through this deeply affecting novel. Earlier, … see full wiki

1 review about Where You Once Belonged

Hauntingly evocative

  • May 3, 2013
Kent Haruf tells the story of a man who can’t see beyond his own point of view, through the eyes of a friend who can’t help seeing too deeply into everyone else’s mind. And slowly the tangled links between the two become clear.

Jack Burdette is back in Holt Colorado, and at first nobody even sees him. But when they do, nobody’s glad. Jack doesn’t even seem to know why he came back. The narrator, however, sees more than a fat man in a car, and tells the story of a boy growing up, childhood pranks, drinks and poker slowly turning to unintended hurts and deepest wounds.

The story changes when Jack leaves town. A larger than life character, he leaves a hole much larger than life in the community. At this point the narrator begins to enter his tale. Permanent losses are paired with the incomplete and hope begins to grow. But don’t read this story for an upbeat ending. It’s a novel of middles and middling through, believing there’s hope when hope fails, and finding out if there’s really any place where you belong.

In the end, the main character is neither the narrator nor the man in the car, but the town itself, wounded, growing and healing from the hurts its people inflict.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from a friend.

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