Our Homesick Songs

Our Homesick Songs

Book - 2018
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LONGLISTED FOR THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE

From Emma Hooper, acclaimed author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James , a People magazine "Pick of the Week," comes a "haunting fable about the transformative power of hope" ( Booklist , starred review) in a charming and mystical story of a family on the edge of extinction.

Newfoundland, 1992. When all the fish vanish from the waters and the cod industry abruptly collapses, it's not long before the people begin to disappear from the town of Big Running as well. As residents are forced to leave the island in search of work, ten-year-old Finn Connor suddenly finds himself living in a ghost town. There's no school, no friends, and whole rows of houses stand abandoned. And then Finn's parents announce that they too must separate if their family is to survive.
But Finn still has his sister, Cora, with whom he counts the dwindling boats on the coast at night, and Mrs. Callaghan, who teaches him the strange and ancient melodies of their native Ireland. That is until his sister disappears, and Finn must find a way of calling home the family and the life he has lost.
Publisher: Toronto : Hamish Hamilton Canada, 2018
ISBN: 9780735232716
Branch Call Number: HOO
Characteristics: 319 p. ;,23 cm

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orangelibrarycard
Mar 06, 2019

The typesetting was strange. It’s even shorter than it looks because some pages have just a few sentences. It goes without quotes for dialogue, which I’ve noticed more and more in books. The ultra-simple dialogue balances out the feats by the kids, which are alarming and advanced… adventurous, (but it’s a book, so ok.) Much of the children's activities are just because there is no helicopter parenting. It goes back and forth in time, but the chapters are labeled with the year, so you don’t have to puzzle it out. It's about adventure, music, fishing, mermaids, the natural world. It makes me want to go to Canada. She only has two books and I’ve read them, so what next?

j
jedabug
Feb 09, 2019

Currently my favorite book, a lyrical story with a strong sense of place. For those who liked the “Snow Child” this story has a mythical feel, weaving together the tales of two generations of one of the last families on the island of Big Running in Nova Scotia. These resilient characters will linger in your mind after the last page like the stanzas of a beloved song.

liljables Nov 20, 2018

Our Homesick Songs is as haunting and beautiful as its title. I loved the narrative structure - we move back and forth between the early 1990s and the 1970s, when Aidan and Martha were growing up in the neighbouring communities of Big and Little Running. Their coming-of-age stories have a touch of magical realism woven into the folk songs sung by young Aidan, providing an effective contrast to the stark reality of their family's situation two decades later, when the cod moratorium has made their community into a ghost town. Both narratives are light on dialogue but heavy on introspection; the writing is lyrical, atmospheric, and evocative, and although this story has no shortage of sadness, its characters are buoyed up by hope, and each other.

f
fangger
Nov 19, 2018

I loved this story. It was sad but heart warming and gave an excellent view into what life was like when the cod stopped coming and it’s impact on one of the families left in a tiny coastal village.

h
harrissusanc
Oct 22, 2018

It’s 1992 in Little Running, Newfoundland, and there’s a moratorium on the cod that supported Finn Connor’s family. His mother leaves to work the rigs, his father, too, and he and his sister stay, for a while, and tell the enchanting story in poetry’s rhythms and in homes imagined as far away places. Homesickness is for those days before the oil slick and the floating bergs. Heartwarming music.

t
Tara_P
Sep 07, 2018

This book is about a family of four-mother, father, a grade school-aged boy and a 14-year-old girl-that is desperately fraying apart echoing the demise of their small fishing village, now bereft of fish. I found it beautiful and heartbreaking and often frustrating to stumble along with each of the family members as they made their efforts to save the each other. A parallel storyline gives the background of the parents and how they came together to create the family. It adds depth to the present-time struggles by depicting the risks taken by them in committing to each other. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy a well-crafted story that is emotionally evocative.

d
dianne_runnels
Aug 26, 2018

Novel about a family in Newfoundland. Well reviewed by CS Monitor 8/18

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