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The Songcatcher by Sharyn McCrumb
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The Songcatcher

by Sharyn McCrumb

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6611922,054 (3.87)1 / 20

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
As usual with Sharyn McCrumb's Applachian novels, an ancient song is at the heart of this story. Lark McCourry, a famous folksinger who has left the mountains and her difficult relationship with her father behind, takes a notion that there was a song she heard sung as a child that would be quite perfect for her next album...a song she does not fully remember, and which she thinks she might introduce to the world. In order to track the song down, and reluctantly to visit her dying father, she plans a trip back home. There are multiple stories intertwined in this novel, as it follows generations of Lark's family, and that elusive song, through the centuries from the time her ancestor Malcolm was kidnapped from a Hebrides beach at the age of 10 and pressed into service at sea in the 18th century, through the American Revolution, and the Civil War, to the recent past. Every time I put the book down I was amazed at how much Story was contained in the relatively short segment I had finished. It's a compressed generational saga that doesn't feel rushed or hurried, a sprawling historical novel that's somehow perfectly told in under 300 pages. I am in awe of the amount of research that goes into all of McCrumb's novels, but here she has outdone herself, and it all fits seamlessly into the narrative without ever feeling like a lesson. (In an author's note she explains how much of this story is based on her own family history, and also how she learned some of the historical details included in it--for instance, she found someone who could teach her how to load and fire a Springfield muzzle-loader such as her Civil War ancestor would have used. "That experience gave me an entirely new perspective on war.' I'll bet it did.) Naturally, Sheriff Arrowood and Nora Bonesteel play significant roles in the modern framework of the story, and Deputy Joe LeDonne has some interesting experiences that help him put his own past to rest. I don't often give this type of work 5 stars, but this one deserves every one of them. ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | Feb 10, 2019 |
An historical novel of the Appalachian Mountains based upon the author's real life ancestors. ( )
  cfk | Jun 12, 2018 |
It has been a few years since I read one of the Ballad mysteries; I had forgotten how complicated her stories could be -- or maybe this one was more so than usual. Partly based on McCrumb's own family history, the story line follows one family from the 1700's with a chapter from each generation interspersed with modern day chapters involving some of her usual characters, Nora Bonesteel et al. ( )
  Siubhan | Feb 28, 2018 |
got in the mail this morning. getting ready to read it. had to finish the book I was reading before I started this one ( )
  KimSalyers | Oct 6, 2016 |
got in the mail this morning. getting ready to read it. had to finish the book I was reading before I started this one ( )
  KimSalyers | Oct 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
The Rowan Stave

Upon the hill above the kirk at moon rise she did stand
To tend her sheep that Samhain ever, with rowan stave in hand.
And where she'd been what what she'd seen, no living soul may know.
And when she's come back home, she will be changed - oh!

First stanza of 5
Dedication
For My Friends of Song

Betty Smith
Sweetwater (Shelly Stevens, Shari wolf & Cindy Funk)
Jack Hinshelwood
First words
The old man in the lawn chair had visitors already.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Folksinger Lark McCourry is haunted by the memory of a song. Passed down through generations, it carried her ancestors from a Scottish island, through the pages of American history, to western North Carolina.
Over the years, though, the memory of the old song has dimmed and Lark's only hop of preserving her family legacy lies in mountain wisewoman Nora Bonesteel, who talks to both the living and the dead.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451202503, Mass Market Paperback)

Capturing the enduring beauty of the Appalachian mountains where she sets her novels, Sharyn McCrumb returns with a beautifully written, historically accurate tale of a song's passage through history-from the 1700s to the present, from the shores of Scotland to western North Carolina...where a folksinger longs to rediscover its haunting tune.

"Quite charming." (Los Angeles Times)

"Once again McCrumb has earned her place among the ranks of America's top storytellers. (Tampa Tribune)

"Intriguing...suspenseful." (Orlando Sentinel)

"McCrumb writes with quiet fire and maybe a little mountain magic." (New York Times Book Review)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:44 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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