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Plainsong Books In Order

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Publication Order of Plainsong Books

Plainsong Series

Kent Haruf, a distinguished American author, had a natural flair for producing captivating narratives that were as impactful as they were entertaining. His gift for character development made his stories particularly compelling, taking his readers on meaningful journeys with his protagonists. Haruf’s engaging writing style, coupled with a knack for saying something profound through his storytelling, attracted readers time and time again, especially for the ongoing series set in the fictional town of Holt.

His journey to becoming a well-loved writer began in eastern Colorado, where he was born. Haruf completed his literature studies at Nebraska Wesleyan University and furthered his education at the University of Iowa’s esteemed Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lived a fulfilling life, from teaching English in Turkey for the Peace Corps to working in various fields across multiple states in America.

Throughout his experiences, Haruf breathed life into the town of Holt, Colorado – a fictional location inspired by the town of Yuma, Colorado, where the author resided in the 1980s. His diverse life experiences played a crucial role in making his works ever so appealing to readers all around the world. One series that particularly exemplified his life and work was that of his ever popular ‘Plainsong’ series of novels.

Haruf’s extraordinarily successful Plainsong series, set on the High Plains east of Denver, gives readers a lively portrayal of life in a small town. Centered around a family residing in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado, the series spans over three absorbing novels. The reader is offered an authentic glimpse into their way of life, with Haruf painting a detailed, vivid snapshot of their daily experiences. This series, with its compelling narrative and relatable characters, significantly resonates with readers, making it a testament to Haruf’s storytelling prowess.

Starting with ‘Plainsong’ in 1999, Haruf’s popular series comprised three novels. ‘Eventide’, the second book, graced the shelves in 2004, followed by the final installment, ‘Benediction’, in 2013. Readers journeyed with the characters through these successive books, resulting in an immersive family portrait.

In 2015, the series further gained traction when ‘Benediction’ was adapted for stage by Eric Schmiedl, showcasing Haruf’s narrative strength in a new medium. Each book in this series offered a continuation from the previous, allowing readers to remain connected to the characters and their evolving story.


‘Plainsong’, an acclaimed contemporary novel penned by Kent Haruf, was first published on October 4, 1999, through the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house. This compelling novel, which marked the beginning of the highly regarded Plainsong series, was commercially and critically successful, earning prestigious accolades such as the ALA Alex Award and a Society of Midlands Authors Award.

Set in the humble town of Holt, Colorado, ‘Plainsong’ revolves around a high school teacher reluctant single father, a pregnant teen devoid of family support, and two bachelor brothers rooted firmly in their family homestead. Their intriguing yet unsettled lives weave a tale of resilience, compassion, and dignified humor, existing inherently within, overriding the harsh circumstances.

The narrative skillfully incorporates four generations, offering a profound insight into the compelling elements of life that transcend social hierarchies and geographical boundaries. Kent Haruf’s narration rings with an emotive and aesthetic prowess akin to classic American literature.

Anyone who hasn’t read ‘Plainsong’ yet is surely missing out on an authentic portrayal of resilience and compassion that resonates deeply within. Kent Haruf’s literary mastery shines in this novel, artfully intertwining the rhythm of daily lives and compelling characters into a narrative bound to leave readers ruminating long past the final page.

This award-winning book promises a heartfelt, captivating read, drawing readers into a world that mirrors elements of classic American literature.


‘Eventide’, a significant work by the esteemed author Kent Haruf, was published in 2004. This impressive novel, marking the second installment of the acclaimed Plainsong series, gathered several awards, including the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2005. With critical acclaim and commercial success, ‘Eventide’ effectively carried the legacy of the series forward.

Set in the constant locale of Holt, Colorado, this weaves the tale of the elder McPheron brothers adjusting to life after Victoria Roubideaux, a single mother they sheltered, leaves for college. The narrative includes a young boy tenderly caring for his grandfather and a disabled couple dealing with a violent family member.

As these stories intersect, ‘Eventide’ introduces timeless truths about human nature, showing our fragility and resilience, selfishness and benevolence, and innate inclination for family connection.


Published on February 26, 2013, the much-anticipated novel ‘Benediction’ forms the third installment of the highly esteemed Plainsong series by author Kent Haruf. This well-regarded piece was again released by the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house and attained considerable acclaim, winning several awards.

This final title chronicles the lives of Dad Lewis, diagnosed with terminal cancer, and his wife as they grapple with his impending passing, complicated by their lost son. Next door, a young girl contends with memories triggered by Dad’s condition. A newcomer preacher tries to restore family ties while battling his congregation’s opposition. Simultaneously, a widow and her daughter provide solace to those around them.

The Plainsong Series

With the Plainsong series, Kent Haruf has unquestionably etched a valuable space in the literary landscape. His ability to shape such painstakingly detailed and emotionally resonant narratives extends an irresistible allure to readers. The meticulous development of characters, combined with the keen insight into their lives, lends a profound depth to his series.

Moreover, Haruf’s masterful rendition of the familial dynamics against the vividly imagined backdrop of Holt, Colorado is a literary wonder. Each book in the series seems to unfurl a new layer to the story, keeping readers engrossed. The Plainsong series, replete with riveting narratives and compelling characters, is a marvellous testament to Haruf’s storytelling genius.

With its enduring charm and timeless themes, this series is predestined to engage and entertain readers for generations to come. Kent Haruf’s legacy lives on through his words, ensuring that his gripping Plainsong series will continue to be appreciated enthusiastically in the reading world.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Plainsong

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