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Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos
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Sing Them Home (2009)

by Stephanie Kallos

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4682433,051 (3.71)46
  1. 00
    Three Junes by Julia Glass (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Family interactions between fathers, mothers, and siblings -- living and dead, present and past -- are the focus of these sharply observed tales. Character-driven and lyrical, they share a thoughtful, bittersweet tone and a complex style perfect for their mature themes.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
The last 100 pages were okay, the rest was annoying, boring, repetitious, and waaaaay to long. The attempts to add magic to the story were leaden, the characters were whiny and unlikeable and worst of all, they were stereotypically damaged. This would have made an excellent short story! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
The Jones family lives in Emlyn Springs, Nebraska. There are tornadoes there once in awhile.This is a story about families and small towns, love and trusting that love. Good story-telling, a good read. ( )
  k8davis | May 21, 2013 |
I loved this book & definitely recommend it. It’s a distinctly North American kind of magic realism, with more spacious rhythms and an underlying allegiance to spiritualism. It’s centered in a small Nebraska town with a strong Welsh identity. Everyone sings, and old traditions around death and singing have prevailed. The town itself is a character – personable, stubborn, exasperating, eccentric, lovable. The weather is itself a very strong character! All the human characters – both living and dead - are beautifully drawn and all their stories worth telling. ( )
  astrologerjenny | Apr 24, 2013 |
You have to get through the first section that describes the Dead Fathers and Dead Mothers and sounds eerie and strange. Then you get pulled in to the events surrounding three siblings, their mother, their father's common-law wife, and their small town. The characters appear flat, at first, but they wonderfully break through their stereotypes to reveal a lot of depth. The narrative takes on flashblacks through the mother's diary entries, but mostly follows the lives of the siblings as they live out the year following their father's death.

I enjoyed the book immensely. Nothing too heavy, but not trivial, either. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Apr 7, 2013 |
I found the characters in this book engaging, but the story seemed to drag. There are a lot of reflective passages which slowed things down.
Here is the summary from the back of the book:T his novel is a portrait of three siblings who have lived in the shadow of unresolved grief since their mother's disappearance when they were children. Everyone in Emlyn Springs 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 1978. For Hope's three young children, the stability of life with their preoccupied father, and with Viney, their mother's spitfire best friend, is no match for Hope's absence. Larken, the eldest, is now an art history professor who seeks in food an answer to a less tangible hunger; Gaelan, the son, is a telegenic weatherman who devotes his life to predicting the unpredictable; and the youngest, Bonnie, is a self-proclaimed archivist who combs roadsides for clues to her mother's legacy, and permission to move on. When they're summoned home after their father's death, each sibling is forced to revisit the childhood tragedy that has defined their lives.
I also loved the community of Emlyn Springs and the descriptions of their Welsh customs. I only partially enjoyed the way she tried to tie in the spirits of the dead and the natural elements to all that was going on. I would suggest this to someone who likes character driven stories with a lot of reflection and "otherworldly" elements. ( )
  debs4jc | Dec 27, 2011 |
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Epigraph
People who say cemeteries are peaceful probably have no means of reception for the powerful static of rushing voices that throb there. I don't believe all cemetery visits can be fruitful because there is no reason why, once having discarded the body, the soul should haunt its remains. My belief is that simply as a matter of tact and convenience some souls make an effort from time to time to be present at a common meeting place.
-from Terra Infirma: A Memoir of My Mother's Life in Mine
by Rodger Kamenetz
Dedication
For my parents,
Gregory William Kallos
August 1, 1927-January 8, 2005
and
Doris “Dorie” Arlene Dorn Kallos
October 16, 1931-January 6, 2006

and my friend,
Michael Thomas Maschinot
November 8, 1957-June 22, 2007
First words
It's so hard to explain what the dead really want.
Quotations
Take the Jones children, for example.
For most of their lives, they have been waiting for their mother to come down. To do otherwise, they believe, would be a betrayal.
Llewellyn Jones, the oldest Jones boy, that smart handsome homegrown young man who everyone said could have been an opera singer if he'd wanted, could have had a music scholarship … but who wanted to be a doctor instead, a doctor, and became one! Not only that, he came back!
When Larken imagines looking at Nebraska from above, she sees Tornado Alley as an actual boundaried region that is always hovering, ever-present, invisible to Doppler radar
Season tickets to University of Nebraska football games are to Nebraskans what rent-controlled apartments are to Manhattanites.
A human being can only hold so much, and grief occupies a large piece of real estate. When it arrives, grief abides by the laws of manifest destiny. Uninvited but entitled, it takes up residence in every seen and unseen part of a person. Reading comprehension is only one of the many countries that grief defeats, oppresses, and occupies.
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This novel is a portrait of three siblings who have lived in the shadow of unresolved grief since their mother's disappearance when they were children. Everyone in Emlyn Springs 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 1978. For Hope's three young children, the stability of life with their preoccupied father, and with Viney, their mother's spitfire best friend, is no match for Hope's absence. Larken, the eldest, is now an art history professor who seeks in food an answer to a less tangible hunger; Gaelan, the son, is a telegenic weatherman who devotes his life to predicting the unpredictable; and the youngest, Bonnie, is a self-proclaimed archivist who combs roadsides for clues to her mother's legacy, and permission to move on. When they're summoned home after their father's death, each sibling is forced to revisit the childhood tragedy that has defined their lives.… (more)

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