Bestseller: Audio Book Review ‘Our Souls at Night’ by Kent Haruf

Age or die young, for everyone, this is a grim reality.

Our Souls at Night is a beautiful story about a relationship between two aging adults who form a unique friendship in order to alleviate the devastating loneliness in their lives.

While the story is short, it is moving and begs the reader to look introspectively, and certainly, as with many issues, the reader’s age and experience will definitely dictate their interpretation. 

Regardless, nearly all of us complain about aging, even though the alternative is not good. Albeit an inevitable part of living, we fight the process daily, and spend billions of dollars a year doing whatever we can to avoid it. Still, outside of financial planning and healthcare, we put very little effort into understanding what it means to get old.

The bittersweet nature of the premise in Our Souls at Night becomes even more meaningful in the wake of the author’s death from cancer only months prior to publication. His gift, among other several fine pieces of literature, is two older adults whom possess desire and wisdom.  

Addie and Louis live only a few houses apart, finally, years after the loss of their respective spouses, Addie pays Louis a visit. During their friendly exchange, much to Louis’ surprise, Addie asks him if he would like to come over from time to time and sleep with her. Quickly, she asserts that it is not about sex, but instead about talking and being next to someone in the dark. Ultimately, she injects that she is lonely and simply doesn’t want to be alone especially at night and thought he might feel the same.

After some awkwardness, the two form a friendship that is perhaps even love. However, unlike many love relationships, it is an inclusive love that excludes no one, not even their departed spouses.

Even so, Addie’s son finds their relationship alarming even disturbing. Addie and Louis need this relationship; it makes them happy. One could argue that the connection becomes like oxygen and without it, the force we call life dwindles into something short of existence.

Codependency? Perhaps? Life sustaining? Maybe?

Addie’s son exhibits behaviors that raise another interesting question, specifically concerning adult children and aging parents, and surely, the story will leave you questioning. When it comes to our children taking an active role in our lives, where do we draw the line between concern and control?  In spite of parenthood, love, and all that implies, is a relationship that lacks respect worth our heed or is it really just blackmail?  

This is a fascinating look at aging, a thought provoking subject that really is a must read for anyone planning on getting old or for that matter, planning on their parents getting old.   

Bestseller, Our Souls at Night, published by Knopf a division of Penguin Random House is available in hardcover, ebook and audio from Amazon and other book retailers.

Review by Sammy Sutton


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