I've just finished reading a novel called Eventide, by Kent Haruf. It's the second book of a trilogy about people living in the small town of Holt in Colorado. The writing is simple, plain and beautiful, and the stories and characters are dealt with compassionately. You get the sense that Haruf, like Keillor, likes his characters, has sympathy with them even when they are weak and hopeless. They are everyday stories of countryfolk, and yet not like The Archers, either past or present.
Dark and light are interwoven. Bad things happen, and there are great sadnesses, and yet you finish the book feeling hopeful because there are kind, humane people in his books as well as weak and bad ones. The ordinary everyday kindnesses shine out from the darkness. Sometimes a character will do a BIG kind thing that improves the life of someone forever. Sometimes, it is a small unnoticed thing they do. Just like life.
For someone like me, who struggles with the enormity of the darkness in the world, Haruf's books deliver wisdom and a rounded view of everyday life. I am about to start the last of the trilogy. These books will stay with me.
Eventide made me think of this quote from the novel We Are Called to Rise: