Cover image for Our homesick songs [large print] / by Emma Hooper.
Title:
Our homesick songs [large print] / by Emma Hooper.
Author:
ISBN:
9781432856939
Edition:
Large print edition.
Publication Information:
Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, 2018.

©2018
Physical Description:
443 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
General Note:
Thorndike Press large print core
Abstract:
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, Big Running; after the fish mysteriously disappeared, most families had no choice but to relocate and find work elsewhere. Aidan and Martha Connor now spend alternate months of the year working at an energy site up north to support their children, Cora and Finn. But soon the family fears they'll have to leave Big Running for good. And as the months go on, plagued by romantic temptations new and old, the emotional distance between the once blissful Aidan and Martha only widens. Between his accordion lessons and reading up on Big Running's local flora and fauna, eleven-year-old Finn Connor develops an obsession with solving the mystery of the missing fish. Aided by his reclusive music instructor Mrs. Callaghan, Finn thinks he may have discovered a way to find the fish, and in turn, save the only home he's ever known. While Finn schemes, his sister Cora spends her days decorating the abandoned houses in Big Running with global flair--the baker's home becomes Italy; the mailman's, Britain. But it's clear she's desperate for a bigger life beyond the shores of her small town. As the streets of Big Running continue to empty Cora takes matters--and her family's shared destinies--into her own hands. In Our Homesick Songs, Emma Hooper paints a gorgeous portrait of the Connor family, brilliantly weaving together four different stories and two generations of Connors, full of wonder and hope. Told in Hooper's signature ethereal style, each page of this incandescent novel glows with mythical, musical wonder.
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Summary

Summary

From the critically acclaimed author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James , comes a lyrical, charming, and mystical story of a family on the edge of extinction set amidst the wind-blown shores of Newfoundland, and the different way each of them fights to keep hope, memory, and love alive.

The Connor family is one of the few still left in their idyllic fishing village, Big Running, Newfoundland; after the fish mysteriously disappeared, most families had no choice but to relocate and find work elsewhere. Aidan and Martha Connor now spend alternate months of the year working at an energy site up north to support their children, Cora and Finn. But soon the family fears they'll have to leave Big Running for good. And as the months go on, plagued by romantic temptations new and old, the emotional distance between the once blissful Aidan and Martha only widens.
Between his accordion lessons and reading up on Big Running's local flora and fauna, eleven-year-old Finn Connor develops an obsession with solving the mystery of the missing fish. Aided by his reclusive music instructor Mrs. Callaghan, Finn thinks he may have discovered a way to find the fish, and in turn, save the only home he's ever known. While Finn schemes, his sister Cora spends her days decorating the abandoned houses in Big Running with global flair--the baker's home becomes Italy; the mailman's, Britain. But it's clear she's desperate for a bigger life beyond the shores of her small town. As the streets of Big Running continue to empty Cora takes matters--and her family's shared destinies--into her own hands.
In Our Homesick Songs , Emma Hooper paints a gorgeous portrait of the Connor family, brilliantly weaving together four different stories and two generations of Connors, full of wonder and hope. Told in Hooper's signature ethereal style, each page of this incandescent novel glows with mythical, musical wonder.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

A family struggles to hold on to the only home it has ever known in this moving novel from Hooper (Etta and Otto and Russell and James). The Connor family lives in Big Running, Newfoundland, an oceanside village that has fallen on hard times after the fish have mysteriously disappeared. Parents Aiden and Martha both grew up in Big Running and decided to stay with their adolescent children, Cora and Finn, when the other families began to move away. To support the family, Aiden and Martha alternate months caring for the children and working at an energy plant north of Big Running. With little to hold their attention, Cora and Finn find their own projects: Cora restyles abandoned houses in the theme of countries she dreams of visiting; Finn investigates the local plant life and begins to formulate a theory about the missing fish. When the government halts public services and advises residents to leave the desolate town, the Connors must make drastic choices if they wish to cling to their way of life. With stark prose, Hooper captures the desperation and difficulty of life on the edge of civilization while maintaining the foundation of tenderness as her characters take care of one another in the face of near-insurmountable struggle. Heartbreaking and empathetic, Hooper's fine novel is a haunting evocation of changing times and the power of place. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

In the early 1990s, the villagers on a remote island off the coast of Newfoundland face a great challenge: as the fish disappear, so does their way of life, forcing them to relocate. The story moves between that time and the youth and courtship of Aidan and Martha Connor in the 1970s. By 1993, Aidan and Martha have found jobs in the far-distant oil and gas fields, with each alternating one month's work while the other stays home with teenage Cora and 11-year-old Finn. This grueling schedule takes its toll on the family, and both children try to help out in different ways. Finn has a plan to lure fish back to their shores and Cora strikes out on her own to earn money. In a simple, almost childlike style touched by magical realism, Hooper (Etta and Otto and Russell and James) offers a novel reading more like a fable or fairy tale, with many references to local folk music. -VERDICT This aptly titled work is like a sweet, sad ballad about keeping home and family together and will appeal to a wide range of readers. [See Prepub Alert, 3/15/18.]-Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Our Homesick Songs That night, at home, the phone rang. Aidan picked it up downstairs, in the kitchen. Finn picked it up upstairs, in the hall, as quietly as he could, breathing sideways out the corner of his mouth. Aidan, said Martha, everyone on the flight was from here, going there. Everyone. The hotel line was fuzzy-quiet, far away. And, she said, the plane was bumpy, less graceful, than I thought it would be. And, she said, Aidan, when we arrived and all stepped out and down the airplane stairs and all looked around, looked up, there were no mountains. Of course not, said Aidan, those are miles away. By Calgary. I was hoping, said Martha. I thought maybe, in the distance. I know, said Aidan. But no. * * * Finn listened until his father hung up the downstairs phone, until the gentle clatter as Aidan went back to putting away dishes, humming like he always did when he was alone. Finn quietly put down his phone and avoided the two creaky boards on the way back to his room. Before bed, he ducked his head under his bedroom window's curtain to count boat lights out on the water. Finn had started doing this when he was three and scared because there were high winds and his father was out on-sea. Cora had come into his room to tell him to shut up because his crying was keeping her awake. She told him he should calm himself by counting boat lights on the water, that shining lights meant safe boats. So Finn counted every night, no matter if his father was out or not, or if the wind was wild or small. Shining lights mean safe boats. They were like upside-down stars. Sometimes, if she wasn't mad at him, Cora would stick her head into Finn's room and ask, How many? That first year, Finn would say, Twelve, the highest number he could count to. And then, two years later, Eight. And then, Five. And then, Three, all far away and slow. Until, six years later, when Finn would squeeze and squint his eyes to try and see one, just one faraway fishing-boat light, and Cora would say, How many? And Finn would say, One, at least one. And she would say, Really? Still one? And he'd say, Yes, I think so, still one. * * * Tonight Finn didn't see any. Not one. Since Cora was already in her room, had gone there as soon as they got back from the ferry and closed the door, there was no one to lie to. Zero, he said quietly to himself. Zero lights. He lay down, pulled up his quilt and, through the pillow and the bed and the floor, listened to the faraway song his father was humming. A familiar, old song. He closed his eyes and let it fill him up, let it spread out and over all his other thoughts, his own heavy heartbeat. * * * When Finn woke again it was full night. All dark, all quiet. He listened for Cora or for his father, for humming or breathing or snoring, for something, but there wasn't anything. He tried closing his eyes again, but the silence was too big, too full. He tried counting boat lights again, but there were none. There was nothing but the always-there wind and the always-there waves and him, just him. Miles from morning. Miles from his mother. He got out of bed, went to the hallway phone and pulled it as far as it would reach toward his room. He dialed the number off by heart, stretched the curly cord around his door and, leaning on his bed, the farthest he could get without the cord breaking, Finn listened to it ring, one, two, three times. Mrs. Callaghan always answered on the fourth ring. Even if she was right there beside it, she would wait, she would count. Good evening, Finn, she said. She had a satellite phone. It made everything sound underwater. Hi, Mrs. Callaghan. Finn was whispering; he didn't want to wake anyone up. Mom left, he said. I know, said Mrs. Callaghan. She's gone, said Finn. I know, said Mrs. Callaghan. But not for good. Still, said Finn. I know, said Mrs. Callaghan. Will you tell me the story again? Their story? Yeah, said Finn. OK, said Mrs. Callaghan. But don't worry if you fall asleep. I'll just keep going. Until it's light? Until it's light. I promise. Ready? Ready. Excerpted from Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.