“Sing Them Home” by Stephanie Kallos

Kallos, Stephanie. Sing Them Home  
Atlantic Monthly Press, 2009, 560 pages
ISBN: 0871139634  
Audiobook by Blackstone Audio  
Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

The sudden death of physician Llewellyn Jones brings together his three grown children in their small hometown of Emlyn Springs, Nebraska. Nearly 30 years earlier the children’s mother, Aneira Hope Jones, disappeared during a tornado, leaving behind nary a trace.

Larken, the oldest child, is a history professor who uses food to fill the emptiness inside. Bonnie, who never left home, has become a kind of archivist who rides her bicycle around town collecting possible clues to her mother’s disappearance. Gaelan, the only son, has become a telegenic weather personality who tires to figure out and explain the local weather.

Back home in Emlyn Springs, the three Jones children must negotiate the awkwardness of planning their father’s funeral around the presence of Viney Closs, their mother’s best friend who helped raise the children after the tornado. Viney had attended nursing school and worked for years as Dr. Jones’s office nurse. And she had also been his mistress since his wife’s death, a fact known to everyone in town.

The planning of Llewellyn Jones’s funeral forces these four adults to re-examine the tragedy of their shared past. Kallos moves freely among the characters’ viewpoints, even using passages from Hope’s lost diary to fill in the past and offer this missing character’s point of view. Finally, as in Broken For You, the characters come to terms with their pain through discovery of the power of love and of the true meaning of family.

© 2011 by Mary Daniels Brown

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