This eagerly anticipated second novel from the author of the national best-seller Broken for You will delight readers with its warmth, humor, and wisdom.
©2009 Stephanie Kallos; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"[Sing Them Home] will find a welcome audience in anyone who has experienced grief, struggled with family ties or, most importantly, appreciates blossoming talent." (Publishers Weekly starred review)
"This fresh, invigorating novel fingers carefully through [its characters'] pain. Kallos doesn't rip her characters apart, just tenderly shows us their failings as they stumble, in a realistic and satisfying manner, toward better selves. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
This starts out seeming incomprehensible, but the plot, with flashback memories, and more, just grab you. I loved BROKEN FOR YOU, her first book, and now have added this one to my favorites. Kallos has woven so many complex things into this story and ties them all to the tornado that takes Hope Jones away forever from her family. This isn't Kansas, Dorothy, it's Nebraska and full of interest and depth. The narrator was wonderful, too, even adding Welsh, in song and spoken, as well as voices and other bits of singing. Fabulous writer and reader!
I almost gave up on this book. Kallos' first novel, "Broken For You" was a sensitive, intimate story with nuanced characterization and finely-tuned dialogue, so I was looking forward to "Sing Them Home". While reading/listening to this novel, it seemed that Part 1 and Part 2 should have been reversed in order. Part 1 was full of impressionistic scenes, characters without context, story lines that didn't go anywhere. While such techniques are inventive, this does not make for enjoyable listening. I was always rewinding to get the smallest sentence that would clue me in as to what was going on. Plus, all the live Welsh singing was a turnoff - no offense to Welsh musical heritage, it just didn't work in an audiobook. Part 2 was more linear, filled in the gaps, and let the reader know the characters. Finally.
I don't get what is so compelling to writers about this stream-of-consciousness, impressionistic style of writing, but the last 3-4 books I've read have used this technique and it's annoying. I can't give this novel more than a 3, especially considering the added feature that it's written - and read - with a sense of irony and sarcasm, full of caricatures instead of relatable characters.
I agree with many of the other reviewers that it is hard to follow at first. Honestly had it not been for those reviewers I probably would have stopped in the first few paragraphs. It was hard to follow at first but eventually pulled together and was a very great story. I am glad I purchased the book and would recommend it. It's not a "favorite" but it was a great book and a great listen.
Great concept, but hard to follow at times. It's a very interesting story and it follows these children who lost their mother, but it gets confusing and hard to follow. I'm going to have to listen to it again and see if it gets less confusing...
Not nearly as good as "Broken for You," but there is something about this author. She can take the weirdest, most unlikeable characters and make you care about them. I stuck with it, though at times wanted to throw in the towel on the whole book. Do outlandish towns & customs like this really exist? I didn't care for the "present-tense" narration of the story either, but at the end I was sorry to leave Emlin (sp?) Springs and all of its wacky inhabitants.
Kallos has written the story of a family in the mid-west whose lives were shaped by the disappearance of their mother in a tornado. The characters are fleshed out fully and it's interesting to watch their interaction with each other and others they encounter. A pleasure to read.
I picked up Broken for You by chance and loved it so much that I recommended it to everyone I know. When I saw Kallos had written a 2nd novel, I could not buy it fast enough. This woman writes beautifully with such richness in her characterizations. You may not love all her characters, but you will never forget them. I was so drawn into the story, I listened to the 19+ hours in 2 days. As with Broken for You, I was saddened when this book ended. I only hope there is more in store from this incredibly talented writer.
It would be hard for Kallos to top "Broken for You," but "Sing them Home" has some strong elements. The author clearly has an affinity for eccentrics, people who don't really fit in, who struggle to find themselves (as we all do). I noticed the book was on Audible and kept waiting for one of "you" to review it. And waited some more. Then I figured, it might be up to me to read it first. I'm glad I did. It's more fragmented than Broken, more characters, more life stories - I didn't care about the characters as much as I did in Broken for You, but I do care and as I look back on the book, I'm glad I knew them.
I really liked this book. The story is interesting and unique, and the narrator did a wonderful job.
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