From Emma Hooper, acclaimed author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James, a People magazine “Pick of the Week,” comes a “haunting fable about the transformative power of hope” (Booklist, starred review) in a charming and mystical story of a family on the edge of extinction.
The Connor family is one of the few that is still left in their idyllic fishing village, Big Running; after the fish mysteriously disappeared, most families had no choice but to relocate and find work elsewhere. Aidan and Martha Connor now spend alternate months of the year working at an energy site up north to support their children, Cora and Finn. But soon the family fears they’ll have to leave Big Running for good. And as the months go on, plagued by romantic temptations new and old, the emotional distance between the once blissful Aidan and Martha only widens.
Between his accordion lessons and reading up on Big Running’s local flora and fauna, eleven-year-old Finn Connor develops an obsession with solving the mystery of the missing fish. Aided by his reclusive music instructor Mrs. Callaghan, 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, his sister 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. As the streets of Big Running continue to empty Cora takes matters—and her family’s shared destinies—into her own hands.
In Our Homesick Songs, Emma Hooper paints a gorgeous portrait of the Connor family, brilliantly weaving together four different stories and two generations of Connors, full of wonder and hope. Told in Hooper’s signature ethereal style, “this delicate elegy for a dying way of life crescendos into a love song binding family members across the waters” (Kirkus Reviews).
A family struggles to hold on to the only home it has ever known in this moving novel from Hooper (Etta and Otto and Russell and James). The Connor family lives in Big Running, Newfoundland, an oceanside village that has fallen on hard times after the fish have mysteriously disappeared. Parents Aiden and Martha both grew up in Big Running and decided to stay with their adolescent children, Cora and Finn, when the other families began to move away. To support the family, Aiden and Martha alternate months caring for the children and working at an energy plant north of Big Running. With little to hold their attention, Cora and Finn find their own projects: Cora restyles abandoned houses in the theme of countries she dreams of visiting; Finn investigates the local plant life and begins to formulate a theory about the missing fish. When the government halts public services and advises residents to leave the desolate town, the Connors must make drastic choices if they wish to cling to their way of life. With stark prose, Hooper captures the desperation and difficulty of life on the edge of civilization while maintaining the foundation of tenderness as her characters take care of one another in the face of near-insurmountable struggle. Heartbreaking and empathetic, Hooper's fine novel is a haunting evocation of changing times and the power of place.