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The Tie That BindsHaruf isn’t one to “pretty-up” real life in his novels. He pretty much writes it like it is. But this novel takes real life to a whole new level. Edith’s life is grim–it started grim, and ended the same. As Sanders Roscoe, her neighbor, tells us of Edith’s life, we learn that Sanders also has lived a pretty grim life. If you want to read an excellent, suspenseful story about what people do to, and for, their families, then Haruf’s book is the book for you. If you’re looking for a fairy tale ending, you’re going to want to read something else.

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Where You Once BelongedHaruf is an excellent writer. His books weave a group of small town characters together in such unexpected ways. I picked this book up at the library recently, knowing that I had read it before and enjoyed it, but not remembering exactly what it was about or how it ended. So as not to ruin the story (either for you or for myself if I pick it up again in 5 years), I won’t say much except to strongly recommend that you read it.