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Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Simplicity can be revelatory.

Last weekend, my wife and I helped an old friend move her ninety seven year old mother into a new assisted living facility. As we placed her antique furniture in the bedroom, I was delighted by the way the wooden knobs fit back into her dresser. No tools or hardware were required. By hand, the knobs simply screwed back into the holes. You turned each knob until there was no more give. Why does any piece of furniture need a more complicated design?

The gentle rhythm of Kent Haruf's novel "Plainsong" (1999) is hard to resist. And the story he tells will resonate with readers who enjoy family novels. But Haruf's gift is the startling simplicity of his prose. Although not a big fan of audio novels, there were moments while reading this book when I wished I were listening to someone reading it to me, quietly. It was as though the author was telling his uncomplicated tale to me as we both sipped a simple cup of tea.

Where in your life does simplicity show itself to be revelatory?

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