The announcement came this afternoon and put a huge damper on my day. Kent Haruf, one of my favorite authors, is dead at the age of 71.

If you have never read Plainsong or Eventide, you are missing out on two literary masterpieces. Haruf’s down-to-earth writing style and his portraits of the people and small town life in his native Colorado are without equal in American literature. I hated to get to the end of his novels.

It was in his ability to convey emotion, to paint portraits of his characters with immense depth and to imbue the stories with a rich sense of place that drew me into his writing. Yet he also did so with what, on the surface, would seem to simplistic story lines. But those story lines were so slice-of-life you find yourself immediately drawn into it. His characters are so real, flaws and all, and his description of small town life so vivid, I find myself captivated from he start.

I’m sorry to hear of Haruf’s death and my heart goes out to his family. I hope they will get some comfort in the joy he gave all his loyal readers.

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