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Inspired Correspondent
Maria_H
Posts: 791
Registered: ‎07-19-2007
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The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

[ Edited ]

Stewart O’Nan and Songs for the Missing

Author Photo: Stewart O'NanAn enthralling portrait of one family in the aftermath of a daughter’s disappearance.

“It was the summer of her Chevette, of J.P. and letting her hair grow.” It was also the summer when, without warning, popular high school student Kim Larsen disappeared from her small Midwestern town. Her loving parents, her introverted sister, her friends and boyfriend, must now do everything they can to find her. As desperate search parties give way to pleading television appearances, and private investigations yield to personal revelations, we see one town’s intimate struggle to maintain hope, and finally, to live with the unknown.

Stewart O’Nan’s new novel begins with the suspense and pacing of a thriller and soon deepens into an affecting family drama of loss. On the heels of his critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling Last Night at the Lobster, Songs for the Missing is an honest, heartfelt account of one family’s attempt to find their child. With a soulful empathy for these ordinary heroes, O’Nan draws us into the world of this small Midwestern town and allows us to feel a part of this family.

About Stewart O’Nan: Stewart O’Nan has published nine previous novels that include The Good Wife, Everyday People, and A Prayer for the Dying, a book of short stories In the Walled City, and four works of non-fiction that include the bestselling book he co-authored with Stephen King about the Red Sox Faithful. O’Nan’s novel Snow Angels has been made into a movie by Warner Independent starring Kate Beckinsale and was released in March of 2008. He is a huge Red Sox and Pirates fan and lives in Avon, CT with his wife.

An excerpt from Songs for the Missing

Chapter One: Description of the Person, When Last Seen

July, 2005. It was the summer of her Chevette, of J.P. and letting her hair grow. The last summer, the best summer, the summer they'd dreamed of since eighth grade, the high and pride of being seniors lingering, an extension of their best year. She and Nina and Elise, the Three Amigos. In the fall they were gone, off to college, where she hoped, by a long and steady effort, she might become someone else, a private, independent person, someone not from Kingsville at all.

The sins of the Midwest: flatness, emptiness, a necessary acceptance of the familiar. Where is the romance in being buried alive? In growing old?

She did not hate the town, as, years later, her sister would tell one lover. Not Kim, not the good daughter. She loved the lake, how on a clear day you could see all the way to Canada from the bluffs. She loved the river, winding hidden in its mossy gorge of shale down to the harbor. She even loved the slumping Victorian mansions along Grandview her father was always trying to sell, and the sandstone churches downtown, and the stainless steel diner across from the post office. She was just eighteen.

At the Conoco, on break, she liked to cross the lot and then the onramp and stand at the low rail of the overpass, French-inhaling menthols in the dark as traffic whipped past below, taillights shooting west into the future. Toledo was three hours away, on the far side of Cleveland, far enough to be another country. Trucks lit like spaceships shuddered under her feet, dragging their own hot wind, their trailers full of unknown cargo. Slowly, night by night, the dream of leaving was coming true -- with her family's blessing, their very highest hopes. She could not regret it. She could only be grateful.

Inside, the a/c was cranked so high she wore a T-shirt under her uniform. They poached old nametags they found in the junk drawer under the register. She was Angie, Nina was Sam. They spun on their stools and watched the monitors, punching in the pump numbers and making change. They read heavy, insane fashion magazines and called around to see what was going on later -- even though they were on camera too -- and fought over whose turn it was to refill the nacho pot. Her timecard was in its slot, the clock beside it chunking with every minute, a record of her steadiness. She'd worked seven days a week since graduation and hadn't missed a shift. Later the police would call this strict pattern a contributing factor. Secretly she was proud of it. She'd never been so determined. She'd never had a reason before.


Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan. Copyright © 2008 by Jeff Gordinier.

Message Edited by Maria_H on 04-08-2008 12:06 PM


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Inspired Correspondent
Bonnie824
Posts: 951
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Now that I'm "in" can someone tell me if this is a novel or a true crime story?

I could not tell from reading the review or excerpt.
Melissa_W
Posts: 4,124
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Now that I'm "in" can someone tell me if this is a novel or a true crime story?

This is a novel, I don't think it's based on any one particular true story.
Stewart O’Nan’s new novel begins with the suspense and pacing of a thriller and soon deepens into an affecting family drama of loss. On the heels of his critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling Last Night at the Lobster, Songs for the Missing is an honest, heartfelt account of one family’s attempt to find their child. With a soulful empathy for these ordinary heroes, O’Nan draws us into the world of this small Midwestern town and allows us to feel a part of this family.

Bonnie824 wrote:
I could not tell from reading the review or excerpt.



Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
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Johanna88
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎12-17-2007
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

So far this book sounds like a grabber. It will suck you in and spit you out with a different perspective. :smileyvery-happy: I can't wait to get a copy. I think that this book will not be a crime book, but more of a suspense/thriller. I am so excited!
Frequent Contributor
wbarker
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎04-25-2008
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

I think the book sounds very interesting.  It sounds like we will be learning how it feels to have a member of the family disappear, and learn some interesting and hidden things about people in the small town!
 
Like the previous poster - I'm hooked already!
Contributor
Deenow
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

Sounds like it's going to be a sad one.
Contributor
princessrexall
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎01-24-2008
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

i'm hooked.  Can't wait to get this one. 
Inspired Contributor
Bearsstar
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎01-30-2008
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

After reading the excerpt for Songs for the Missing, Mr O'Nan already has me hooked wanting more.  I feel this is going to be an eye opener for some who think they know their children, neighbors etc, and then find out there are so many things they didn't really know.  I am so impatiently awaiting my copy of the book, that while I was gone for a few days, I had my granddaughter at the house waiting a month too early for my copy lol:smileyvery-happy: unfortunately she wasn't all that happy with me though. 
Jeanne G aka Bearsstar
Inspired Contributor
gringorn
Posts: 49
Registered: ‎12-26-2007
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

I am so excited!!  My book was here when I got home.  It is a cool and rainy night, I have my teapot aboil, and I am off to bed with my book!! Hope you all get yours soon too!
 
Mary
Inspired Contributor
gmfuhlman
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

I received my copy today also and I can't wait to get started reading it. Good reading.
 
gmfuhlmanhappy smiley
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ladychatterly
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

My copy arrived today--yea! I LOVE the front cover, and the storyline description on the back cover--I plan on reading quite a bit tonight. The cover and description alone would compel me to purchase this book, and after reading the excerpt posting I already feel this book will pull you in from page one. 
New User
Jajochku3
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

Mine arrived yesterday! I've never read any of O'Nan's other works, but after reading a few chapters I think I will have to pick up his other books!
Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

Jajochku3,
 
I too had never read any of O'nan's novels so while waiting for Songs to be delivered I picked up a couple.  I read Last night at the Lobster and The Good Wife.  All I can say is that I am so pleased that B&N introduced
me to him.  Just like a good movie I find myself thinking about the characters days after I have finished the book.  I don't know how I've missed him all these years.
 
I hope you too have an opportunity to pick up some of his older works.  I think you're in for quite an interesting experience.
 
 
 

Jajochku3 wrote:
Mine arrived yesterday! I've never read any of O'Nan's other works, but after reading a few chapters I think I will have to pick up his other books!



Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

I also picked up Last Night at the Lobster, wasn't greatly impressed so was a bit worried about Songs, but having read the first third or so of Songs I'm finding it a much more enjoyable book with more believable characters and a plot that seems much more likely than Lobster was. If Songs continues to be as good, this will be a good and, in my case at least, positive discussion.

For my money, this is so far the best of the First Look books.

Carmenere_lady wrote:
Jajochku3,
I too had never read any of O'nan's novels so while waiting for Songs to be delivered I picked up a couple. I read Last night at the Lobster and The Good Wife. All I can say is that I am so pleased that B&N introduced
me to him. Just like a good movie I find myself thinking about the characters days after I have finished the book. I don't know how I've missed him all these years.
I hope you too have an opportunity to pick up some of his older works. I think you're in for quite an interesting experience.

Jajochku3 wrote:
Mine arrived yesterday! I've never read any of O'Nan's other works, but after reading a few chapters I think I will have to pick up his other books!






_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
CAG
Inspired Correspondent
CAG
Posts: 218
Registered: ‎01-15-2007
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

I received my book on Friday. Thanks B & N for such quick delivery. I started reading immediately and loved O'Nan's writing style. I too, had not read anything by him before and at first was going to go out and get a couple of his other books but decided to wait. Having read just a few chapters I find his writing is very much like a good movie and already I am thinking about the characters when I set the book aside. I am very glad B & N introduced me to this author too.

Carmenere_lady wrote:
Jajochku3,
 
I too had never read any of O'nan's novels so while waiting for Songs to be delivered I picked up a couple.  I read Last night at the Lobster and The Good Wife.  All I can say is that I am so pleased that B&N introduced
me to him.  Just like a good movie I find myself thinking about the characters days after I have finished the book.  I don't know how I've missed him all these years.
 
I hope you too have an opportunity to pick up some of his older works.  I think you're in for quite an interesting experience.
 
 
 

Jajochku3 wrote:
Mine arrived yesterday! I've never read any of O'Nan's other works, but after reading a few chapters I think I will have to pick up his other books!






CAG
Frequent Contributor
nbmars
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎02-21-2008
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

I finished the book and I thought it was excellent. I had no previous familiarity with this author, but now look forward to checking out his other work.
Inspired Correspondent
Maria_H
Posts: 791
Registered: ‎07-19-2007
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

Great -- be sure to come back when the official discussion begins on June 2!


nbmars wrote:
I finished the book and I thought it was excellent. I had no previous familiarity with this author, but now look forward to checking out his other work.



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jdmiller212
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎04-25-2008
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

I am new to this book club and have received my copy of the Songs for the Missing.  I also have not read any books by Stewart O'Nan.  As soon as I received the book I just had to start reading it.  I am half way through and was hooked from the start.  I never would have considered reading this book or author if I had not joined this club.  I am very glad I did.  I'm hooked
New User
arhoads
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎04-11-2008

Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

This novel was great. It really seemed as thought the author had been through this. It was thorough and realistic.. a hard to put down novel. I'm looking forward to reading more of Stewart O'nan's work!
Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

I too am hooked and this is not something that I would have picked up on my own. Jo
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