Sing Them Home
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Sing Them Home

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3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  2,516 ratings  ·  574 reviews
"Sing Them Home" is a moving 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...more
ebook, 560 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Grove Press (first published 2007)
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Nette
"Read" is cheating -- I read about 100 pages and quit. I would have thrown it against a wall but 1) it was a library book and 2) it's pretty fat, so it would have left a dent. I'm sure people who like magical realism will adore this book, but I thought it was goopy and annoying. Just as I'd become interested in a "real" character, some random dead person would appear and the author would waste five pages on a lot of woo-woo philosophizing about the dead and their opinions. Dead people, apparentl...more
Jennifer
I just don't know what to say about this one. At the core, this book is a family drama, in which 3 vaguely dysfunctional adult siblings try to make their way in the world after the bizarre deaths of both of their parents (Mom: sucked up in a tornado; Dad: struck by lightning). I loved this book when it focused on these characters.

But the author was trying to do more than just tell the story of these people. She was trying to tell the story of an odd little Welsh town in Nebraska (what does it me...more
Kendra
It took me a while to get into this book, but once I did, I was hooked. Kallos is a good writer, and one of her strengths is her subtle, intelligent humor. I really liked, too, how she feeds you a little bit of information at a time and makes you wait till the end of the book to get the whole story about this odd family and even odder town. For me, the biggest drawback was the terrible editing. There were lots of typos ("acamedician" was a standout among the more mundane misspellings) and odd mi...more
Stephanie
This book rocked my world. The writing is superb and I couldn't put it down. I usually stick to shorter novels, but had no trouble staying interested in this work. I might have to buy my own copy so I can underline the innumerable insightful passages in the book.
RNOCEAN
Sing Them Home is a moving 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. La...more
Kathrina
Oct 12, 2012 Kathrina rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Carolyn -- Targu Mures Book Group
It's been a long time since I've felt so close to what I begrudgingly must admit are fictional characters. And I don't mean that these characters felt like friends or neighbors, but that each of them was a part of me, and their story on the page was a piece of my story I hadn't yet considered. Kallos' writing is stunning -- poetically lush and sharp at the same time. Beware, there is magic realism here; the dead will speak, but it only makes the voices of the living more distinct. This story has...more
Diane
I anxiously awaited the release of this book as I loved the author's first book: Broken for You. This book was scheduled for a January 2009 release but hit the stores and libraries earlier.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sing Them Home is a moving 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 wit...more
Carrie
This may be my new favorite novel: I love the rendering of Nebraska (where I currently reside) and its exploration of grief and absence. The characters are complicated and nicely drawn. A lovely book, seriously.
Julie
Amazingly layered, so many complete characters. One of those books that you must immerse yourself in, and then feel panic when you realized the end is near.
Julie
Okay, maybe I am too picky, but editorial errors make me crazy and can even stop me from reading any further! In like the second chapter, a minor character, Kris, is introduced. Just a few paragraphs later, and from then on, the same character is referred to as "Chris". Why why why would no one have caught this? I am only reading on because of all the other great reviews that promise a terrific story... Grrr!

... So I finished the book, but the editorial errors continued. For example, the stage i...more
jillian
This book was absolutely beautiful. I loved every single page of it. The characters were so vivid, the prose so gorgeous, the setting so lovingly described...it is a true classic.

When Hope Jones goes up in a tornado in 1978, it gives her children no way to let go of her. Without a body, they, and the town, cannot perform the traditional days of grieving and singing that they have inherited as part of their Welsh lineage. While those rituals help with loss for everyone else, without a body for Ho...more
Jeanne
Jan 19, 2009 Jeanne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeanne by: PW
Wow! I don't even know where to start. This is a very special novel; I haven't read anything this good in a long time.

Our story begins with the death of Llewellyn Jones, the mayor of Emlyn Springs, Nebraska. His death brings together the three Jones children: Larken, Gaelan, and Bonnie. Larken is now a respected professor of art history at the University of Nebraska, Gaelan is the hunky weatherman for KLAN-KHAM, and Bonnie is the town eccentric of Emlyn Springs.

Each sibling has his/her own comp...more
Mitzi
During the first few chapters, I thought, wow, what wonderful, descriptive writing. During the next few, I thought, O.k. that's too descriptive (second by second recount of how a character eats a candy bar). But by the middle, I was comfortably tucked into the tale of 3 siblings whose mother was carried off by a tornado when they were children and now have reunited with the death of their father (by lighting). Kallos tries to follow each sibling as they deal with issues surrounding their childho...more
Katrina
Read the first chapter, but couldn't make myself go any farther. Some reviews said the book got better after the first 100+ pages, but I couldn't make myself trudge through to the "better" part of the book. Just goes to show you that the beginning of the book is just as important as the rest--often you can lose your reader in the first 25 pages, especially if the book doesn't "get good" until after the first 100 pages.
Cheryl
Stephanie Kallos has a remarkable gift. She writes about everyday life and the kind of people that you might not notice as you pass them on the street, and make them both come alive in a magical way. A small town, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and a longing for family mixed with the fragility of happiness all come together to make this a wonderful book.
Erica
This book was way too long for the story it was telling. Initially the extensive description was great, then it just became too descriptive.
Barbara ★
The premise of the book sounded interesting: 3 young siblings left behind after their mother disappeared during a tornado; all supposedly with stress related mental issues. The oldest, Larken Jones is an overweight art professor hiding her eating disorder from everyone. Perpetually single but in love with her married neighbor. She's just existing from day to day not really living at all. The middle child, Gaelan is an overly sensitive and good looking body-building weatherman who uses women and...more
switterbug (Betsey)
This is a saga, a sweeping family story that lodges in your marrow, the kind of story that makes you smile, laugh, weep, snort, chortle, sing, spread your arms wide and lay your heart wide open.

With flavors tender, ribald, ironical, farcical, tragic, magical, and wondrous, Sing Them Home narrates an epic story of a family emotionally disrupted by the disappearance of their mother (and wife), Hope, in a Nebraska tornado of 1978. Hope was swept up, along with her Singer sewing machine and a Steinw...more
Iowa City Public Library
The 2011 All Iowa Reads book is Stephanie Kallos‘ Sing Them Home. I just listened to this book on disc and thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to discussing this book with others as a part of the All Iowa Reads program in 2011!!

Sing Them Home is set in the small Welsh community of Emlyn Springs, Nebraska and focuses on the Jones family. Everyone in Emlyn Springs knows the Jones family because their matriarch, Hope Jones, was carried away by a tornado and was never seen again. Hope’s family, in...more
Kate
I really wanted to like this book, and there were parts that I loved. The first paragraph of the prologue sucked me in and I thought "yeah, THIS is gonna be a good one."

But it really... just... wasn't. There were many intriguing parts, and the characters were interesting but not wholly believable, except for Hope, who you only really get to know from reading her journals - these were the best part of the book, for me. I didn't feel a connection with any of the three siblings, and it seemed like...more
Jackie Weed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy McC
I really don't know about this book. I guess I liked it because of the characters that are unusual and well defined. But, I like a riveting plot and there was no overall plot. There were the subplots that involved each of the 4 main characters, but there really was not a larger "scheme of things". I also felt like after all the sadness and dysfunction in the lives of the characters, Kallos felt like she had to bring us into the sunlight so she provided a quickly and neatly wrapped happy ending....more
Louise
Compelling though not terribly satisfying. I found most of the characters to be prickly, and not too likeable. The storyline was one of those that reveals the past through a diary as you go along; which was a bit too precious for me.

There were a bunch of editing errors; some glaring that really took me out of the story because I had to re-read things multiple times to figure out which words were missing, there was a screw up of 20 years on one page, and one character's name was changed back and...more
Louise
The story of a family in Nebraska and how the mother’s death via tornado affected the family. After the father’s death , also weather related, the three grown children come home for the funeral.
Compelling though not terribly satisfying. I found most of the characters to be prickly, and not too likeable. The storyline was one of those that reveals the past through a diary as you go along; which was a bit too precious for me.
There were a bunch of editing errors; some glaring, that really took me o...more
Sue
Stephanie Kallos's writing style is different and a new experience for me. Her style is delightfully wordy. When she introduces a character you know them inside and out. You don't get just dialogue, but what the character is thinking as well. You get to know the person behind what the world sees, and you know them well. The story transports you to a different world, and although it is just small town America, it's not like anything I have ever experienced. Her quirky characters include the livin...more
Xe Sands
First things first - I listened to the audio version of this, narrated by the very talented Tavia Gilbert. I don't know that I would have continued reading in print, to be honest. The inital part of the book essentially introduces our main characters and didn't grab me right away. BUT, I'm so very glad that I continued with this one because what a whallop this packs! By the middle, I was completely engrossed...the sections from Hope's diary were very moving. The main characters take on a depth I...more
Stacysom
This book just ... bothered me. I don't like being so inarticulate, but I can't entirely grasp why I didn't really like it. It was well-written. There was plenty of tragedy and tension. But I knew how everyone's story would end as soon as their situations were spelled out -- and they were spelled out at length. The character I liked the most (Viney) got the least attention, which was disappointing. I hated, HATED the 'magical realism' (if you can call it that) of the dead people contributing to...more
Karen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mandy
I was really looking forward to Kallos 2nd book. I enjoyed Broken for You, very much. This book took 2 long weeks to read and was not worth the time! I read every page, but just don't know why. The book was over 500 pages of nothingness. There was little plot, little character development and just not much to hold my interest. I was very peeved when the author referred to "going over to Branson (MO)" from the Lincoln, NE region. Did she look at a map? What part of geography requires you to "go o...more
Susan
I thoroughly enjoyed Kallos's first book, Broken For Me, and I must say that I liked Sing Them Home, her second novel, even better. Once again Kallos confronts the question of who and what constitutes a family. She has an easy style of writing and a gently amusing way of exhibiting a characters foibles that makes us like and care about them. Centered in a Nebraskan town that retains its Welch heritage, there are numerous nods to the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder, but with a firmer connection...more
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Stephanie Kallos spent twenty years in the theatre as an actor and teacher. Her short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received a Raymond Carver Award. Her first novel, BROKEN FOR YOU, received the Pacific Northwest Book Award, the Washington State Book Award, and was chosen by Sue Monk Kidd as the December 2004 selection for "The Today Show." Her second novel, SING THEM HOME, w...more
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