In this slim novel, Kent Haruf introduces us to two residents of rural Holt, Colorado: Addie and Louis. Both Addie and Louis have been widows for more than a decade; both have weathered years of grief; both are living away from their grown children; and both are desperately lonely.
Tired to spending every night alone, Addie proposes to Louis that they begin an affair: not one based on sex, but rather of companionship. Louis, a bit reluctantly, agrees and so he begins to visit Addie every night to join her in bed where they talk and offer comfort to one another.
Freed from the emotional baggage that defined their marriages, Addie and Louis share their life stories — the good and the bad — and fill the long, lonely nights that have marked the years since they were widowed with companionship.
Despite a small dust up among the other residents of their small town (some who disapprove of two older people entering into what appears to be a purely physical relationship), Louis and Addie continue to meet each night. Soon they are falling in love with one another, and they begin a full relationship with dates, trips, meals, and — eventually — sex.
Told in sparse prose, vaguely reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy, Haruf tells readers of the blossoming relationship between two people who will no longer stand for loneliness and who are determined to carve out as much time for love and happiness as they can.