Fiction Stewart O'Nan Songs for the Missing

ISBN 13: 9780143116028

Songs for the Missing

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9780143116028: Songs for the Missing

A heartfelt family drama of loss and reconciliation with the unthinkable
Look out for City of Secrets coming from Viking on April 26, 2016
Returning again to the theme of working-class people and their wrenching concerns, Songs for the Missing begins with the suspenseful pace of a thriller, following an Ohio community's efforts to locate a young woman who has gone missing. It soon deepens into an affecting portrait of a family trying desperately to hold onto itself and the memory of a daughter whose return becomes increasingly unlikely. Stark and honest, this is an intimate account of what happens behind the headlines of a very American tragedy.

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A heartfelt family drama of loss and reconciliation with the unthinkable Look out for City of S....

Review:

""Songs For The Missing" is both profound and profoundly beautiful. A haunting meditation on the power of those we lose, its emotional resonance defies description. Like most of Stewart O'Nan's work, my ultimate response was the highest praise one writer can pay another: envy. I so dearly wish I'd written it."
aDennis Lehane, author of "Mystic River"
aTaut prose and matter-of-fact detail enrich this compelling portrait of teenage life in small-town Ohio, as the disappearance of a popular girl on the cusp of leaving home for college changes the communal dynamic of family and friends.
The latest from O'Nan ("Last Night at the Lobster," 2007, etc.) initially reads like a whodunit, but who or why become less important than the character of the vanished Kim Larsen from the differing memories of those who knew her bestaor thought they didaand the ways in which Kim's disappearance allows all sorts of revelations to come to light. The opening chapter is the only one that views Kim's life from her own perspective: the job she tolerates, the little sister who occasionally annoys her, the parents whose tension between them sometimes rises to the surface, the friends with whom she shares routines and some confidences, the boyfriend with whom she isn't serious enough to stay with past the summer. She anticipates college as an escape from the town where "every night they fought a war against boredom and lost," yet she's understandably apprehensive about living away from home. Then she disappears, putting her parents into a panic, forcing her friends to decide which secrets to reveal, uniting the community in its attempts to aid the search and offer support to the family. Will Kim'sdisappearance end her parents' marriage or make it stronger? Is there a logical explanation, a motive, or is this simply evidence of "the world's incoherence"? Though the author sustains narrative momentum through the conventions of the police procedural (with chapter headings such as "Description of the Person, When Last Seen" and "Known Whereabouts"), ultimately the novel is less about a possible crime than about the interconnections of small-town life. "The problem was that everything was connected," thinks one of Kim's friends. "One lie covered another, which covered a third, which rested against a fourth. It all went back to Kingsville being so goddamn small."
A novel in which every word rings true.a
a"Kirkus" (starred)

"Riveting . . . Songs for the Missing is an engaging and often excruciating read."
-"The Plain Dealer" (Cleveland)

" O'Nan is on a kind of mission to restore a simple, true sense of humanity to the novel."
-"The New York Times Book Review"

""Songs for the Missing" has a plot that is deceptively easy to summarize, but the book has a mood so subtle that only first-rate fiction can evoke it."
-"San Francisco Chronicle"

"O'Nan's writing is undeniably skillful . . . The pacing is spotless."
-"The Miami Herald"

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