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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

America Dreaming Of Its Own Innocence

Eventide - Kent Haruf

A follow up to Plainsong, Haruf's critically acclaimed chronicle of a small town community in rural Colorado, Eventide focuses on many of the same characters and explores many of the same motifs. But where Plainsong celebrated simplicity, integrity and the dignity of ordinary people, Eventide somehow crosses a narrow line from sincerity into sentimentality

The characters all lack introspection and emotional curiosity. They all possess the same habit of understatement and spend their whole time saying, 'I guess so' and 'That's about it,' until you want to shake them.

There's a terrible scene in which Harold, one of the two elderly McPheron brothers who featured so prominently in the first book, is dying, after being attacked by a bull. He lies there on the ground fatally injured. 'I can't get my breath. I'm all busted inside,' he says.

'I'm going to run up to the house and call somebody,' his brother tells him.

'I ain't going nowhere,' Harold replies.

'I'll just go and call somebody,' his brother insists.

'No,' stay here,' Harold says, adding, in a line that belongs in a John Wayne movie,  'I mean I ain't going nowhere, ever.'

A celebration of inarticulacy, this is America dreaming of its own innocence.