By Megan Harlan
Updated November 05, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Plainsong

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  • Book
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This perfectly titled, unaffectedly lyrical novel, a National Book Award nominee, explores the meaning of family in a tight-knit ranching town on the Colorado plains. When high school senior Victoria is thrown out of her home for getting pregnant, one of her teachers, Maggie, orchestrates an unlikely solution: Victoria moves in with the McPherons, two elderly bachelor brothers more comfortable with cattle breeding than social interaction. Haruf juxtaposes Victoria’s trials with those of Maggie’s romantic interest, a fellow teacher raising two young sons alone and facing harassment by a violent, failing student. What elevates Plainsong is Haruf’s spare, gracefully cadenced prose; it’s a balladeer’s vision of small-town America. A

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Plainsong

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