Years ago, I was deeply affected by a novel. Since then, I have gifted more than 50 copies of it to friends, family, acquaintances. I remarked to a bookseller once 'If you're a writer, this novel will have one of two effects on you: it will either inspire you to write as you've never written before, or depress you so much that you never write again.'
The novel was Ann-Marie MacDonald's 'Fall On Your Knees'.
'Sing Them Home' had me thinking of it regularly. In fact, there were moments where Ms Kallos' offering was so very good, that I felt much the same sentiment I'd related to the aforementioned bookseller. But at other moments...
'Close...but no cigar.'
This novel has some of the most emphatic, some of the most commanding, brilliant, lyrical writing I've had the pleasure to consume over the past few years. I was very much caught up in it, dazzled, moved.
But it also has some missteps that, in the end, reduced the book's eventual impact, its status for me.
It reaches for a lot. And let it be said, it grasps a lot, and in some delightful executions.
But it's not a masterpiece.
It's not an unforgettable piece of literature.
Maybe it could have been.
And maybe I'm being harsh. If I am, it's because there's so much at the start to fall in love with. To not be as nourished as you come to believe you're going to be...I confess to more than a little heartbroken.
I fear that her stamina...or that of her editor...was not sufficient to get her to the finish line with the same energy as her endeavour's start.
Ms Kallos is far more talented than most of the writers out there, certainly one of the most talented writers I've had the good fortune of reading. This novel might not be for everyone, it might be flawed, but it's a testimony to the quality if fiction currently available. Brava