Nov 23, 2009

Where You Once Belonged

by Kent Haruf

I read this one several years ago, from the library. I didn't like it quite as well as the other Haruf novels I've read. This one is also set in small farming community in Colorado. The plot builds its way backwards as a former local football hero returns after eight years' absence to his hometown, where he receives a very sour welcome. Gradually the story is pieced together to show the reader why all his neighbors hate him, portraying this young man's series of selfish, manipulative acts that not only devastated the lives of his wife and children, but nearly the entire town as well. Whereas the other two books gave me a real picture of individual characters and the closeness of small town life, this one almost felt more like a crime or mystery novel to me. The ending is really quite sudden, and unsettling. I'm still not sure if I liked it or not. The previous two I read felt like they portrayed the good, community side of small town life, and this one showed the bad underbelly. Where You Once Belonged is just the kind of story that leaves the reader (at least this one) feeling frustrated (more at the characters' shoddy actions than at the book itself).

Rating: 2/5                          176 pages, 1990

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bermudaonion said...

Sounds like one to skip.

Susan B. Evans said...

Hmmm... Sounds like this would not be the best introduction to Haruf.

Jeane said...

Bermudaonion- Yep

Susan- Nope. I liked Plainsong much better.