Where You Once Belonged

Kent Haruf

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23 May 2013
192 pages

Set in a fictional Colorado town, Kent Haruf's Where You Once Belonged brings to life small town America and the characters that keep the community together.

Heavy-built Jack Burdette is quite literally too big for his boots – and too big, certainly, for the small-town attitudes of Holt, Colorado. But when he fails to make the grade as a college footballer, and takes a job with the local farmers’ cooperative, it seems he has finally settled into the rhythm and routine of everyday life. Outward appearances can be deceptive, however, as Jack proves: returning from a weekend conference with a new wife in tow, then leaving her behind and skipping town with a bundle of other folks’ money.

Nearly a decade later, no one has forgiven or forgotten, and when Jack reappears, resentment runs high. Once again though, it is Jack whose presence – even more than his eight-year absence – proves the most devastating.

Haruf ’s heroes are small people weighed down with big hearts . . .He manages to find magic in the minutiae of ordinary lives.

Mariella Frostrup on Plainsong, Mail on Sunday

Haruf ’s deceptively artless prose and unsentimental tales are driven by individuals, not incidents, as they choose between decency and cowardice, degradation and rectitude.

Praise for The Tie That Binds, Times Literary Supplement

Haruf is one of the finest novelists at work today.

Time Out