Today, I’m recommending the sophomore work from critically acclaimed author Emma Hooper, called Our Homesick Songs. If Hooper’s name sounds just a little bit familiar to you, you might have heard about or read her heartfelt debut novel Etta and Otto and Russell and James. Like her debut novel, Emma Hooper has graced us readers once again with another beautifully moving story in Our Homesick Songs.
Legend has it that once upon a time, the cod ran so deep in the waters off Big Running, Newfoundland, that a sailor could walk to shore across their backs. Now the cod have disappeared, and sailors and their families are forced to relocate and look for work elsewhere. The Connor family is one of the few families still left in their once idyllic fishing village.
Thinking they’ve found a way to keep their family together, parents Aidan and Martha Connor take turns working at a logging camp up north to support their children, Cora and Finn. But Finn and Cora are looking for solutions, too, for ways to bring back the cod and their community, and most important, to reunite their parents.
Between his accordion lessons and reading up on Big Running’s local flora and fauna, 11-year-old Finn develops an obsession with solving the mystery of the missing fish. Aided by his reclusive music instructor, 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, 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.
But as the months go by, and the population dwindles even further, the emotional distance between their once-happy parents grows, challenging the children to quickly bring their plans to life.
Having read and completely loved Emma Hooper’s first book, I eagerly waited for this latest book to hit the shelves, and it did not disappoint. Our Homesick Songs is 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.
Check out Our Homesick Songs and other great works of newly published literary fiction like it at the Sioux City Public Library.
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