With her best-selling debut novel, Broken for You, Stephanie Kallos earned comparisons to John Irving, Anne Tyler, Margaret Atwood, and Carol Shields, establishing her as a writer of uncommon wisdom and soulfulness (Sue Monk Kidd).
Sing Them Home is a deeply moving portrait of three grown siblings who have lived in the shadow of unresolved grief since their mothers mysterious disappearance when they were children. Everyone in Emlyn Springs, Nebraska, knows the story of Hope Jones, the physicians wife whose big dreams for their tiny town were lost along with her in the tornado of 1978. For Hopes three young children, the stability of life with their distant, preoccupied father, and with Viney, their mothers spitfire best friend, is no match for their mothers absence. Larken, the eldest, is an art history professor who 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, depend on his sculpted frame and ready smile; and Bonnie, the baby of the family is a self-proclaimed archivist who combs the roadsides for clues to her mothers legacy, and permission to move on.
When, decades after their mothers disappearance, they are summoned home after their fathers sudden death, they are forced to revisit the childhood tragedy at the center of their lives. With breathtaking lyricism, wisdom, and humor, Stephanie Kallos explores the consequences of protecting the ones we love.
Sing Them Home is a magnificent tapestry of lives connected and undone by tragedy, lives poisedunbeknownst to the characters themselvesfor redemption.
The Mayor Ignores the Rules
For someone born and bred right
here in the rainwater basin of the central great plains, Llewellyn Jones
the mayor and presumptive leader of Emlyn Springs, Nebraskais
showing a sad lack of common sense. His ladyfriend and bedfellow for
the past twenty-five years, Alvina Closs, is flummoxed.
Cant you wait an hour? she is saying. You can still get in nine holesmaybe even eighteenafter it blows over.
Ive got a tee time reserved, he answers. Im expected.
We dont live in Miami! Alvina counters, shrilly. Its not as if theres a crowd of people waiting to play. Why cant you wait?
Im going now, Viney, he says. Just like that. No explanation. No compromise.
You and your goddamned golf.
He gives her a level, noncommittal look. Ill be home by happy hour, he ...
I am singing praises for Sing Them Home, a delightful read. It has what any good musical and literary composition should have—a unique melody with harmony, tempo, lyrical style, rhythm, lulls and crescendos building to a stunning climax. It also has characters to cheer for in spite of all their foibles. Perhaps that is why it is so easy to like them.
Who could not sympathize immediately with three young children, ages 7-14, whose mother was swept away in a Nebraska tornado never to be found. Not a trace, not even of the wheelchair that encased her body ridden with multiple sclerosis. Sing Them Home could be a depressing story, but instead I found myself smiling and laughing quite a bit as Stephanie Kallos depicts, with humor and sensitivity, life in Emlyn Springs, Nebraska, a fictional town thirty miles from Lincoln. (Reviewed by Vy Armour).
Full Review (1145 words).
The Gymanfa Ganu
In Sing Them Home, the town of Emlyn Springs celebrates an annual Gymanfa Ganu, also known as Cymanfa Ganu (pronounced cuh-MAN-va GA-nee), which is a Welsh festival of sacred hymns sung with four part harmony by a congregation, usually under the direction of a choral director.
The tradition grew out of the temperance movement in mid-nineteenth century Wales when choral societies were founded as one solution to the grave problem of drinking. Because of the unsanitary conditions in the rapidly-growing housing developments, water was unsafe to drink and beer (sterilized by the fermentation process) was ...
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