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The Tie That Binds by Kent Haruf
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The Tie That Binds (original 1984; edition 2000)

by Kent Haruf

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6042016,187 (4.05)50
Member:deidrechristensen
Title:The Tie That Binds
Authors:Kent Haruf
Info:Vintage (2000), Edition: Vintage Contemporaries ed, Paperback, 246 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Tie That Binds by Kent Haruf (1984)

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I miss Kent Haruf, like you’d miss a favorite uncle or grandfather who’d taught about life with every breath they took before they left this world. So, picking up [The Tie That Binds], realizing that there was too little left to discover from him was freighted with much more than the printed words inside the cover.

Edith Goodnough (another in my ever growing list of perfect character names) lives with her crippled father and eccentric brother in Holt, Colorado. It’s a rugged Holt, different from the landscape we have come to know in Haruf’s later books. And Edith’s gritty existence matches the dry, sunbaked earth in the fields out back of her house. She surrenders love and happiness to care for one mean-spirited man, and another useless one. Her choices will make you ache for her, but also admire her.

Haruf will never disappoint, and he didn’t with this early work. Mind you, it’s not the place to start, as the writing is raw and a little unrecognizable. But it’s still Haruf, and there’s not enough of him left.

Bottom Line: An early and raw Haruf, but one that still captivates.

4 1/2 bones!!!!! ( )
  blackdogbooks | Feb 28, 2017 |
Our first book discussion book that i loved!
( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
Review: The Tie That Binds by Kent Haruf.

This is another great story in a country setting. The writing style is creative and inviting. It was written in the first person and the narrator was a neighbor, Sanders Roscoe to the main characters, the Goodnough’s family in the story. The isolated Colorado Plains is the setting which pulls in the reader slowly and stable, unrelenting, yet it’s naturally emotional and personalized. Haruf establishes the life in Holt, Colorado and does a beautiful way of conveying it to the reader. Kent Haruf created another great entertaining story. It was an enjoyable read.

The story is over the span of eighty years and the gap between years doesn’t hinder the story one bit. The characters are amazing and well developed. The father, Roy Goodnough, after his wife died, was arrogant and egotistic and treated his two children like animals. Lyman, his son worked hard with his father lashing out at him all day long while working in the fields of their farm. Lyman couldn’t wait till the day he would have a chance and leave behind the farm for better times. However, things got worse when his father got his hands caught and chewed up in the harrower machine behind the tractor. The town doctor treated Roy’s hand and from that day on he had nine stub fingers and one surviving pinky finger. Now Lyman felt guilty about leaving the farm but the abuse just got worse until one day Lyman went AWOL.

Then his daughter Edith, who slaved away with the woman chores of the farm, cooking, canning, gardening, cleaning, milking the cows, feeding the chickens also wanted to get away from the abuse and started dating, until her father put a stop to that. After her brother took off her father dragged her to the fields to drive the tractor everyday on top of other chores. While all this was going on the neighbor Roscoe tried to help at times but also got sick of the way he was treated. One day he watched Roy belittle Edith out in the fields that he lost his temper and had it out with Roy. However, that never stopped Roy from treating his daughter like an animal. It finally came down to Roy becoming ill and Edith soon rented out the fields to other farmers including Roscoe.

After Twenty years Lyman came home…This is what Edith was waiting for…As time went on Edith was isolated in the farm house with Lyman who was now going insane…Edith tried to figure out what to do with Lyman and came up with a solution to her eighty years of life on the farm….What did Edith decide…?

( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
He can sure write old folks. And younger folks, and flinty ones that don’t do so good, weak ones that wish they could, bitter ones that are helpless to be anything else.
This is just the way it is. Here is life.
He illuminates grace in hidden corners. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
This is a story of self-sacrificing Edith, who in the end couldn't take it any more. Excellent writing. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
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for Ginger and Mark
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Edith Goodnough isn't in the country anymore.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375724389, Paperback)

Colorado, January 1977. Eighty-year-old Edith Goodnough lies in a hospital bed, IV taped to the back of her hand, police officer at her door. She is charged with murder. The clues: a sack of chicken feed slit with a knife, a milky-eyed dog tied outdoors one cold afternoon. The motives: the brutal business of farming and a family code of ethics as unforgiving as the winter prairie itself.

In his critically acclaimed first novel, Kent Haruf delivers the sweeping tale of a woman of the American High Plains, as told by her neighbor, Sanders Roscoe. As Roscoe shares what he knows, Edith's tragedies unfold: a childhood of pre-dawn chores, a mother's death, a violence that leaves a father dependent on his children, forever enraged. Here is the story of a woman who sacrifices her happiness in the name of family--and then, in one gesture, reclaims her freedom. Breathtaking, determinedly truthful, The Tie That Binds is a powerfully eloquent tribute to the arduous demands of rural America, and of the tenacity of the human spirit.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:14 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

As elderly Edith Goudnough lies in a hospital bed, accused of murder, her neighbor, Sanders Roscoe, tells what he knows of her life: "a childhood of pre-dawn chores, a mother's death, a violence that leaves a father dependent on his children, forever enraged."--Cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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