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 Steinway piano, but she never came down. Due to the absence of her remains, all that stands in the graveyard is her cenotaph.
Twenty-five years later, the three grown-up children are still trying to cope with their grief. None ever married. Larkin, an art history professor (whose work is symbolic with her loss and grief) hides behind food and refuses to "leave the ground." Gaelan is a weatherman (ah! the irony) who has only superficial, sexual relationships with women, and the youngest, Bonnie, is a virgin and garbologist. She roams after storms to look for "archival" remains of things that flew away in the tornado with their mother. And she talks to the dead at the cemetery.
There is also a beloved but inscrutable stepmother, Viney, (although she never legally married their dad); a large supporting cast of unforgettable characters; ancestral Welsh traditions; and the Nebraska weather and topography, a salient ingredient in pulling the story together.
The prose is beautiful and evocative as the story moves along non-linearly, but with grace. Past events are revealed gradually and build momentum as it catches up to the present. You will experience an intimate relationship with these radiant, unconventional characters and their extraordinary story.
There are some themes similar to The Lovely Bones--loss, unresolved grief, isolation, the meaning of memories and the idea of home. However, Kallos' novel is richer, more sprawling and textured. John Irving comes to mind, with veins of Philip Roth, Margot Livesy, and Ann Tyler. She is an original, though--she leaves her own memorable imprint.
This is no garden-variety redemption story. It exhilarates with an elixir of spiritual, metaphysical and deeply human voices, of things said, unsaid, unuttered, and forever sung.
For a taste of the author's wit, poise, sensibility, and charm, read her bio on her website at [...]