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Our Homesick Songs

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,712 ratings  ·  419 reviews
From Emma Hooper, critically acclaimed author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James, a People magazine “Pick of the Week,” comes a lyrical, charming, and mystical story of a family on the edge of extinction, and the different way each of them fights to keep hope, memory, and love alive.

The Connor family is one of the few that is still left in their idyllic fishing village
...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Simon & Schuster (first published June 7th 2018)
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Ruth Turner I think it comes back to this near the beginning when her and Aidan were new...I'd like to think that when she is far from home she is clutching her f…moreI think it comes back to this near the beginning when her and Aidan were new...I'd like to think that when she is far from home she is clutching her fists and remembering the mermaids tears cried for those left behind.

"In clenched fists, Martha would bring Aidan sea glass, round and smooth and blue and green and clear as sky. Mermaid’s tears, they called them, in the Runnings. Cried for people left back onshore, hardened by distance."(less)

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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Angela M
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Quiet writing, seemingly simple language yet so much more always gets me

“Out on the dark green night water, said Finn, there was a mermaid. And, because mermaids need to, it sang. Sad songs, homesick songs. Night after night, a hundred thousand, fish. And the only one who could hear it was a girl. .......and it got louder and louder until it was louder than the wind, until...Until she saw it wasn’t a mermaid. It was Dad. It was our dad. Singing. .....And then? asked Cora. And then everything, s
...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4.5 lyrical stars to Our Homesick Songs! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️.5

In Our Homesick Songs, Emma Hooper deftly and lyrically tells the story of the Conner family living in an idyllic ghost town of a fishing village, Big Running. The inhabitants have mostly moved on due to the fish leaving first under a cloud of mystery.

The parents, Aidan and Martha, take turns working elsewhere to support their two children, Cora and Finn. Eventually, the family may have to leave Big Running for a more stable way of life.

The
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Diane S ☔
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 "So we're learning homesick songs?
All songs are homesick songs, Finn.
Even the happy ones?
Especially the happy ones.

Mermaids, music, folktales and a disappearing way of life. When the cod disappeared from the New Foundland fishing waters, a family tries to do everything they can to hold on to their way of life. So many have left, so many houses are empty, the library boat left unmanned. For young Finn, aged eleven, the thought is unbearable, and he comes up with many different plans to try
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Christina - Traveling Sister
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 lyrically written, quietly absorbed stars

I'm not sure I've ever struggled so much between the 3 and 4 star range than I did with Our Homesick Songs.

This is the story of a family: Aiden, Martha and their children Cora and Finn and the dying fishing town of Big Running. As the town and fishing situation grow more desperate Aiden and Martha are forced to work inland and away from their children in alternating months. Their love for their town and their family never wavers, but the distance gro
...more
Elyse  Walters
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook.....narrated by Nicole Power

This audiobook is only 7 hours long....( shorter than most Audiobooks I listen to). Nicole Power’s voice is perfect for this story. She has a very youthful sound to her voice - with genuine warmth that’s very easy to listen to while she links together four different stories and two generations of the Conner family.

Listening to Emma Hooper’s book enhanced my appreciation for the lovely lyrical mystical tale with charming children, eccentric characters, music
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Cheri
”The water is wide I can not get o'er,
And neither have I wings to fly,
Give me a boat that will carry two,
And both shall row my love and I

“O love is handsome and love is fine,
And love's a jewel when it's first new,
But love grows old then waxes cold,
And fades away like morning dew.”

--The Water is Wide, Eva Cassidy (and others) Songwriters: Unknown

As this story begins, it is 1993 in Newfoundland, Canada, then slips quickly back to 1992, with a ten-year-old Finn hopping on the rocks covered in
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Debbie
3.5 Atmosphere-out-the-ying-yang stars

Remember the Dick and Jane primers from grade school? Well, I do, and the dialogue in this novel all sounded like See Jane Run. The rest of the book, about a dying sea town in Newfoundland, has a LOT of power. There’s fishing, singing, freezing, and an intense, forlorn family. But I couldn’t stop feeling like I was just learning to read.

Joy Jar

-Take away the dialogue, and there was poetry happening. Good poetry: easy on the eyes, easy on the mind.

-Where did
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Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Lindsay and I read Our Homesick Songs with three of our Traveling Sisters and we all ended up in the same coulee with this one except for Lindsay who was left feeling this was not the right choice for her.

I instantly connected to the setting in this story as I am Canadian and familiar with both settings in this story. I love the feeling I got while reading this story and it reminded me of that haunting and mysterious the sea can be and I often wonder what secrets it holds. In this story, one of
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Karen
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the story of a family of four trying to make it in the ghost town of a fishing village, hanging on after all the fish have vanished. Most of the population has left for jobs and living elsewhere but the parents here take alternating months leaving to work in another city while the rest stay at home. The children, Cora and Finn take a lot of things into their own hands.
There is a present day story, and the story of the parents when they were coming up, both were lovely and a bit magical.
...more
Esil
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Our Homesick Songs was so beautiful — beautifully written and a beautiful playful depiction of human emotions in the face of difficult times. The story focuses on a family living in a very small dying community in Newfoundland. There are two intertwined timelines. In the 1970s, we see Martha and Aidan in their teens, finding each other as they survive difficult family situations. In the early 1990s, Martha and Aidan are parents to 14 year old Cora and 11 year old Finn. The fisheries have collaps ...more
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
2.5 stars. This simply comes down to a wrong book choice by me.

I can understand how so many love this book. The writing is unique – quiet and poetic. Unfortunately, it simply didn’t work for me - I couldn’t connect with the story or characters. The writing felt very distant and unemotional.

I encourage you to check out the many raving reviews out there for this novel.

Thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster and Emma Hooper for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Kathleen
"There was nothing to do but tell stories. Tell this story."

OUR HOMESICK SONGS by Emma Hooper is a beautiful, haunting, lyrical tale about a fading town in Newfoundland and a boy who would do anything to save his family.
In 1992 the fish vanish from the waters due to overfishing by huge super-trawlers from foreign lands, causing the cod industry to abruptly collapse. With the closure of the fish plants, jobs disappear and the people from the town of Big Running are forced to leave the island and
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Dana
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Our Homesick Songs is about a family of four, who live in a faltering and nearly abandoned fishing village. It follows Aiden and Martha Conners, the parents stretching themselves to a breaking point by working alternate month shifts at a faraway work camp, and their children Cora (determined and desperate to create a life with purpose and joy for herself and her younger brother), and Finn a dreamer of a boy who just wants things to go back to the way they were.

The atmosphere of the novel is high
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Bam cooks the books ;-)
Set in Newfoundland in the 90s, it seems the once-plentiful fish have disappeared and those who made their living from fishing are moving on from the island of Big Running. But one family who has managed to stay is Aidan Connor and his wife Martha with their two children, Finn and Cora. Their solution is for each to go off to Alberta, alternating one month each, and work in the energy fields.

But that is good for no one...and soon 14-year-old Cora is gone too, leaving 10-year-old Finn behind, th
...more
Nancy
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I adored Emma Hooper's first novel Etta and Otto and Russell and James, which I read in 24 hours, and which had me in tears. I finished my review with the words "Read it."

So I was super excited to read Hooper's new novel Our Homesick Songs. I had high expectations and was not disappointed. I was enchanted by the writing.

The story is set in a small Newfoundland fishing village suffering from the impact of over-fishing by commercial ships that are "big as bergs; monster-big" and able to hold "a w
...more
Renee Godding
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
“All songs are homesick songs, Finn.
Even the happy ones?
Especially the happy ones.”


A deserving 4-stars for this beautiful generational tale of a community at the brink of change.

The inhabitants of an idyllic fishing village in Newfoundland, have lived primarily of the cod industry for decades. That all changes when the fish seem to mysteriously disappear. As desperation grows and the temptation of a newer way of life calls, many families up and leave for distant shores, leaving the town of Big
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Krista
Rating: 4.5 stars, rounding down to 4 stars

Emma Hooper has written another unusual gem of a book in, Our Homesick Songs. Hooper’s earlier book, Etta and Otto and Russell and James was published in 2014, and was greeted with critical acclaim. I feel like this book will receive the same acclaim. It at least receives that acclaim from me!

The book opens in 1993 on a remote part of the Newfoundland, Canada coast. The town of Big Running has pretty much been abandoned because the cod fishery has been
...more
Marialyce
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 lyrically beautiful stars

There are some books that call to you, that speak a language you so understand, that say in few words a world of change, reality, and difference. For me, Our Homesick Songs was such a book.

This lyrical, music set to words tale, encouraged the reader to paint pictures, to fill in those blank spaces on a canvas that was a story that in many ways was cautionary but also celebrated the idea of hope. Big Running is a small town fishing town. It was a beautiful place ins
...more
Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, arc, favorites
Ahhh... I think I'm in love! Someone get me all the Emma Hooper books in the world, because I am so enamored with this sweet, adorable book - so lyrical and poetic and just enchanting. The characters are so quirky, the writing is fun and it reads like a fairytale.

Set in Canada, in a fishing village, the Connor family is one of the last families left in their town on the island of Newfoundland. The Cod has been over fished and there is just nothing left to catch to make a living. It's forced mos
...more
Sharon Metcalf
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, netgalley
What a wonderful discovery Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper was.   With beautiful writing, a fantastic setting, a lovely family story, and some interesting learnings this one delivered everything I most enjoy about reading.

Set in the isolated fishing village of Big Running the story alternated between the late 60's/early 70's, and the early 90's.     In the earlier period we meet teenagers Martha Murphy and Aidan Connor.    We learn something of their backstories, how they meet and fall in love
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Fiona
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gentle, moving story about the demise of a Newfoundland fishing community and the stresses the loss of their traditional livelihood had on families who had made their living for generations by fishing there.

Our Homesick Songs alternates between two years, 1974 and 1992/3. The latter is significant because 1992 was the year in which the Canadian government suspended cod fishing off the Newfoundland coast. The big factory ships had decimated stocks, as they also did in Scotland, and they needed
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Anne ✨
This is a very unique work of fiction with lyrical-poetic writing. Listening on audio, it felt a lot like a spoken word poetic performance. I really admire Emma Hooper's skill and creativity here, the story is really captivating in a quiet way, and there's a lot of treasures within.

The setting for this story is a tiny fishing village in coastal Newfoundland in 1992 when the cod fishing industry has collapsed. The story centers on one family, the Connors, and illuminates the struggles of a popul
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I requested this book after hearing about it in Litsy, not realizing it was longlisted for the Giller Prize, but always nice to accidentally read from a prize list!

Big Running, Newfoundland, has run out of fish, and the government is pushing people to leave, as they will no longer support the infrastructure. The Connors don't really want to leave - Martha and Aidan, the parents, are rotating traveling north for work to make enough money to live, while Finn and Cora, the children, are finding cre
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Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
Review after second read:

Instead of reading I listened to the audiobook this time around, and the book is wonderful in any format. Newfoundland was extremely isolated for hundreds of years, making the culture here so unique. In fact, the province remains more isolated than most realize. There is simply no means of getting off this island that is economical. Even though she's a "mainlander," Hooper has captured the spirit of Newfoundland's people remarkably. The way she's given a story of the cod
...more
Krista
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
There was a mermaid, said Finn.

Yes, said Cora. She pulled an old towel up over her, a blanket.

Out on the dark green night water, said Finn, there was a mermaid. And, because mermaids need to, it sang. Sad songs, homesick songs. Night after night, over a hundred thousand fish. And the only one who could hear it was a girl.

Lonely, said Cora.

Yes, a lonely girl, said Finn. Orphaned. But tying knots and listening to the mermaid sing made her feel a bit better. All through the night, she'd lie awak
...more
Bianca
Remember the saying "plenty of fish in the sea" which can be used to signify you've got plenty of choices? These days, plenty of fish in the sea is a thing of the past.

Our Homesick Songs is a very atmospheric novel, about a fishing village slowly dying due to not enough fish in the sea.

I'm torn about my rating. I appreciated many things about this little novel - the writing is competent, beautiful at times. Regardless, I just couldn't get into the story, I was kept at a distance either by the
...more
Rebecca
Sep 12, 2018 marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
(DNF @ 14%) I should have known from my experience with Etta and Otto that Hooper’s style is too twee for me, but I was lured in by the accordion on the cover! I did like the existence of the library boat and Cora redecorating the rooms of a derelict house to match her latest travel book. ...more
Brooke
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 rating

In 2015, I had the pleasure of reading a little gem of a story called, Etta and Otto and Russell and James, and now musician Emma Hooper with the same lyrical and child-like style brings readers another beautifully crafted story: Our Homesick Songs, coming out this August!

Set in Newfoundland, Canada we follow the Conner family; Aidan and Martha and their two children Cora and Finn. We see a glimpse of how Aidan and Martha met as kids, but the main story focuses on Cora and Finn. This s
...more
SueLucie
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
What is it about this book that I loved so much? I am always drawn to stories set in a northern wilderness, especially on an island, and it ticked that box. Difficult lives, for sure, and it is a sad story in some ways - the people’s livelihoods taken away by overfishing and their very homes under threat, leading to the parents working away from home on rotation with all the stress that involves. The two children touched me most, both trying to save their family in their own ways. I was drawn to ...more
Megan
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was such a quirky and uniquely written book !! I’m a sucker for any type of book that takes place in small town fishing communities, as I live in one, right on the mid Atlantic Ocean.

Though this may not be a book for everyone. I thought it was such a beautiful story with the most lovely and alluring characters !

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars !
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Books about Places and People. Songs about Dinosaurs and Insects. Research about Pop Music and Robots. Emma lives, writes, plays and teaches in Bath, England, but goes home to Canada to cross-country ski as often as she can.

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