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Lunch » Tags » Untagged » Where You Once Belonged » User review

Hauntingly evocative

  • May 3, 2013
Rating:
+4
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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About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth ()
Ranked #42
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
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Wiki

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, we learn how Jack has abandoned his pregnant wife, two small sons, a girlfriend and piles of unpaid shopping-spree charges, but his sins against the town prove to be even more serious. The story is narrated by the editor-publisher of Holt's weekly newspaper; he is transformed from rueful, detached observer to tragic participant in the events, which inexorably unfold to a stunning climax. Haruf captures small-town people with a sharp humor and sympathy worthy of Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology . Not a word is wasted in his brooding drama, which conceals a tender love story in its bruised heart.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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