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Craig Jones

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Sing Them Home

Sing Them Home
Kallos, Stephanie
Atlantic Monthly Press
Publish date: 2009-01-02


Everyone in Emlyn Springs, Nebraska, knows the story of Hope Jones, the physician's wife whose big dreams for their tiny town were lost along with her in the tornado of 1978For Hope's three children, life with their distant, preoccupied father, and with Viney, their mother's spitfire best friend, can never make up for their mother's absenceOnce grown up, Larken, the eldest child, an art history professor, seeks in food an answer to a less tangible hunger; Gaelan, the only son, is a telegenic weatherman who devotes his life to predicting the unpredictable and whose profession, and all too much more, depends on his sculpted frame and ready smile; and Bonnie, the baby of the family, is a self-proclaimed archivist who combs the roadside for clues to her mother's legacy and permission to move onWhen, decades after their mother's disappearance, the three siblings are summoned home after their father's sudden death, they are forced to revisit the childhood tragedy at the centre of their lives.


Any of the fiction buffs who frequent the store know that both Missie & I really enjoyed Broken for You by Stephanie KallosWhen it came time to write a review for Sing Them Home, we couldn't decide who would get to write it so we are doing it togetherFirst a bit of plot: Three adult children (Larkin, Gaelen & Bonnie) are returning home, to a small Welsh community in Nebraska, after the death of their fatherIn Emlyn Springs funerals are an important seven-day event, filled with ritualHowever, this funeral is shadowed by the earlier death of their mother, who was taken up by a tornado in 1978 and never foundWith the stage set, the next thing we need to say is that we both loved all the characters, from the cranky old ladies in the big house to Blind Tom, the 4th generation piano tunerThen there are the deceased, who have a voice, and the landscape itself (reminiscent of Alice Hoffman)This is part of why we love Stephanie Kallos - SHE loves all her charactersUnderneath the great characters, Kallos imagines a community that keeps archaic traditions alive in a way that sustained its citizens rather than hindered themShe has a midwestern sensibility that is comfortable and she doesn't answer all the questions, but allows everyday life to retain an element of mysteryHow this affects our beloved main characters? Well, you are going to have to read about that...