Kent Harufs honors include a Whiting Foundation Award and a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation. His novel, Plainsong, won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the New Yorker Book Award. He lives with his wife, Cathy, in his native Colorado.
This biography was last updated on 01/01/2011.
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Kent Haruf discusses Plainsong
This is from your frontispiece: Plainsong--the unisonous vocal music used
in the Christian church from the earliest times; any simple and unadorned melody
There's an obvious pun that this is kind of a song or an emblem for the Plains or an anthem for the Plains. Sung in a plain style. These are regular, ordinary sort of elemental characters and I think they're presented sort of directly and I wanted the prose to be kind of simple and direct.
Even without elaboration the characters are very strong. They are people we come to know and care about and the pages turn that way. In the shifting source of narrative from chapter to chapter I didn't want to let go of the storyline I'd just been in but I was very happy to get back and find out what's going on elsewhere.
Well, I had some misgivings about whether or not that form would put off readers. It was the only thing I could think of doing regarding these characters and how to tell their stories. In a way, the Plains have no excess. If you think of places where it is rich in vegetation, it seems like there is so much of it that you almost get lost in it. In the Plains, things are stripped ...
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