Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper

Popham Beach in Phippsburg, Maine

Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper is a lyrical ode to family and to small towns. Although this 2018 novel takes place in Canada, the coastal town, the quirky characters, their economic hardships, and the bitter cold reminded me of Maine. It was the perfect winter read.

The narrative alternates between fisherman Aidin and net-maker Martha as teens falling in love, and decades later when they have kids of their own and the fish have mysteriously disappeared. Their 11-year-old son, Finn, hopes to entice the fish back, but his big sister wants to escape their dying town. Meanwhile Aidan and Martha struggle to support their family as neighbors abandon their homes and close local shops. Although all four family members share the narration, young Finn's voice was the most engaging. The story is based on true events in the late 20th century, but it's told like an old folktale.

Our Homesick Songs is a quiet book that will warm your heart. The multi-generation characters would appeal to readers of all ages. You could read it aloud by the fire or listen to the audiobook on a long car ride. I enjoyed hearing the folk songs and regional accents in the audiobook but now wish I owned a hard copy to reference the gorgeous prose. I bought the book for my mother's birthday, and she loved it too. The 326 page hardcover makes a good gift.

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@Barrie Summy


Barrie said...

This book sounds great! It was on my radar because it was long-listed for the Giller, but it's still in my towering TBR pile. :) So, thank you, thank you for reviewing. Also, your review makes me want to read the author's first book, Etta and Otto and Russell and James. Thanks!

Lyndi Lamont said...

Folk songs and regional accents? it does sound like a perfect audio book. Thanks for reviewing.

Sarah Laurence said...

Barrie, If you can read it in a week, we could compare notes. I think you'd love it. Thanks for hosting!

Lyndi, it was ideal on audiobook. I enjoyed your review too.

Powell River Books said...

I was intrigued by the cover image and your mention of the setting in Canada. I was curious if it might be set in a Newfoundland outport, but the Amazon review didn't give any hints about that. - Margy

troutbirder said...

Its been a while as Google wouldn't let me into my own blog and then essential tremor ended my typing career. A student of mine and a computer guru after much ado got me back into my blog fixed the typing problem with an amazing talk to type device called Dragon. Last but far from least Mrs.T who for 53 years corrected my atrociously lacking grammatical deficiencies in no in Memory near Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN.
On to your book review: small town life in a very cold place like Maine.....and Minnesota. That catches my interest No ocean setting but we do have our own inland sea, the largest freshwater one in the world. Troutbirder and the Dragon who type as fast as I can talk.:)

cynthia newberry martin said...

Sounds beautiful. I love quiet books.

Sarah Laurence said...

Margy, it's based on a true story of disappearing cod in Newfoundland.

troutbirder, welcome back! I'm sorry you've had medical issues but am impressed that you've figured out a way to communicate verbally. I'm quite curious about Dragon as it would be a good tool for many writers who need physical relief from typing. I'm sorry to hear about Mrs. T but relieved to hear she is getting the care she needs from such a good clinic. I think you'd enjoy this book.

Cynthia, save it to read next winter on the Cape. It is your type of novel.

All, sorry to be slow to reply: I was mostly offline in California, visiting friends, family, and our own Barrie Summy!

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Always a dilemma when listening or reading -- wanting the hard copy or hearing the voice. I just finished listening to Florence Gordon by Brian Morton Now I want a hard copy so I can re-read so many of the observations. I'll add this one you suggest to my queue.