Addie Moore and Louis Waters live in the small farming community of Holt, Colorado. Both are in their 70s, widowed, and living alone. They don't know each other well but one day Addie walks over to Louis' house, tells him that her loneliest hours are at night, and asks him if he'd be willing to come over and share her bed at night. There's nothing sexual in her proposition, just a yearning for connection and companionship. And although the town will gossip about them, Louis agrees, coming to value the comfort of Addie's hand in his as they drift off to sleep. Lying in the dark, these two gentle souls who have found each other share their pasts and the sorrows they carry in their hearts and they forge a lovely and deep relationship with each other.
When Addie's son and his wife separate the same summer, her six year old grandson Jamie comes to live with her and the dynamic of Addie and Louis' days changes to include this young boy and the dog they adopt for him but their nights remain mostly unchanged. They are two loving and kind people quietly enjoying these late in life moments of pure contentment. But not everyone sees the beauty between them and life flows on, changing and moving beyond their peaceful arrangement.
Haruf has written a beautiful, meditative little book on human connection and its loss. It is a moving look at aging and loneliness but also at the understated pleasure in the friendship, love, and presence of another human being, one whose soul compliments yours. The story is intimate, comforting, and ultimately sad. But with its peaceful plot and gorgeous writing, everything about the story feels like a benediction. As both Addie and Louis know, life is fickle so it matters that everyone taste of its sweetness whenever it's presented, offering thanks and appreciation for beauties encountered. This short novel is itself indeed one of the beauties of life. Stunning in its simplicity and its sincerity, this is well worth the read.