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Extended Audio Sample Sing Them Home: A Novel, by Stephanie Kallos Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,084 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephanie Kallos Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Sing Them Home is a moving portrait of three siblings who have lived in the shadow of unresolved grief since their mother’s disappearance when they were children. Everyone in Emlyn Springs, Nebraska, knows the story of Hope Jones, the physician’s wife whose big dreams for their tiny town were lost along with her when she was swallowed up by the tornado of 1978. For Hope’s three young children, the stability of life with their preoccupied father, and with Viney, their mother’s spitfire best friend, is no match for Hope’s absence.

Larken, the eldest, is now an art history professor who seeks in food an answer to a less tangible hunger; Gaelan, the son, is a telegenic weatherman who devotes his life to predicting the unpredictable; and the youngest, Bonnie, is a self-proclaimed archivist who combs roadsides for clues to her mother’s legacy—and permission to move on. When they’re summoned home after their father’s death, each sibling is forced to revisit the childhood tragedy that has defined their lives.

With breathtaking lyricism, wisdom, and humor, Kallos explores the consequences of protecting those we love. Sing Them Home is a magnificent tapestry of lives connected and undone by tragedy, lives poised—unbeknownst to the characters—for redemption.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Fans of Ann Patchett and Haven Kimmel should dive onto the sofa one wintry weekend with Stephanie Kallos’ wonderfully transportive second novel, Sing Them Home…[T]here are elements of magic in this story…But the whimsy is grounded by Kallos’ keenly empathetic description of life in a Midwestern small town. The ending may leave you feeling so wistful for these strange, sad people that you find yourself fantasizing about a trip to Nebraska. Rated: A–.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Kallos’ (Broken for You) enthralling second novel takes the reader by storm…Themes of family bonds and conflicts, secrets and sorrows also marked Kallos’ debut, and this time she weaves in an idiosyncratic view of the role of the dead in the lives of the living, sharp takes on business, academic and sexual politics, and a palpable empathy for small Midwestern towns. This novel will find a welcome audience in anyone who has experienced grief, struggled with family ties or, most importantly, appreciates blossoming talent.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Tavia Gilbert brings additional vibrancy to Kallos’ original and affecting novel. Gilbert manages to capture the underlying melancholy of the novel while creating complex and believable characters. With a compelling stage presence, she brings this story to life with an inspired reading that demonstrates her performance ability and creative sensibility.”

    Publishers Weekly (audio review)

  • “Well-crafted plotting and crackling wit make this debut novel by Seattle author Kallos a delight to read and a memory to savour…Book groups will enjoy discussing the layers of meaning, the stylistic nuances, and the powerful message of hope secreted in these pages.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Kallos’ second novel is rife with opportunities for the audio narrator, and Tavia Gilbert takes full advantage. There’s the persona of MS-ridden Hope, who disappeared in a Nebraska tornado years ago but whose diary entries punctuate the story. Her three children develop into a womanizing TV weatherman, a compulsive art professor, and a young woman who does odd jobs and is dying to have a baby. They become distinct personalities, thanks to Gilbert’s expert characterizations. Then there’s the small, mostly Welsh, town with a personality of its own. In clear and impeccable diction, Gilbert recounts kiddie beauty pageants, fancy egg festivals, and week-long funerals…Gilbert will hook listeners. And she gets to sing in Welsh!”


  • “This fresh, invigorating novel fingers carefully through [its characters’] pain. Kallos doesn’t rip her characters apart, just tenderly shows us their failings as they stumble, in a realistic and satisfying manner, toward better selves. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • “Gilbert provides a distinctive voice and personality for the three siblings…This stirring musical drama is driven by death and weather, the most certain and uncertain elements in life. Gilbert’s musical talent shines through, both in song and her engaging reading of Kallos’ lyrical prose. A heartwarming story, complete with a happy ending.”

    Booklist (audio review)

  • “Kallos creates unique and fully formed characters, and narrator Tavia Gilbert gives a fully voiced reading of the main characters as well as many important minor characters, creating a uniquely Welsh Middle American ambiance with voice. The nuances of Gilbert’s voice used for children and childlike characters, like Bonnie, is particularly striking. There is also much Welsh, both spoken and sung, and the narrator brings the beauty of the language out.”


  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Selected for the January 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by HiphopQuyn | 2/19/2014

    " interesting story about three siblings raised in a traditional Welsh town in Nebraska whose lives are shaped by hurricanes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Pam | 2/15/2014

    " The most interesting character in this book about the loss of a mother to her three children, is the town of Emlyn Springs. Emlyn Springs was founded by Welsh settlers, and has maintained Welsh traditions until the present time. The funeral custom of "singing the dead home" unifies the book as the adult children of a woman taken away by a tornado resolve their grief and are freed from it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by bb | 2/1/2014

    " Just barely started but so far kind of intriguing....update....couldn't finish....boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Carrie | 1/31/2014

    " A slow start, and I almost put it down in favor of other books. Kept with it one sleepless night, and then I was hooked. I was able to identify with bits of each character. The whole Welsh language thing was very intriguing. Not as good as her first book, but still a very interesting story. "

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