06-28-2008 11:16 PM
06-28-2008 11:35 PM
This was my first encounter with Mr. O'Nan's work and I have become an instant fan. This story dealt with the effects of unexpected loss. The story begins with the disappearance of Kim. The remaining characters must not only deal with her loss but also who and what they have become and will become without Kim in their lives. They will always remember that summer for it will be their summer of endings and beginnings.
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
06-29-2008 10:43 AM
- if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with! - Dorothy - Wizard of OZ
06-29-2008 04:22 PM
06-29-2008 09:18 PM
06-30-2008 08:32 AM - edited 06-30-2008 08:37 AM
SONGS FOR THE MISSING had the potential to be a great book. A beloved daughter goes missing, and the aftershocks of her departure paralyze, shock and forever change her family and her friends. In fact, Kim Larsen's disappearance changes 'everything'.
Stewart O'Nan's style of writing is minimalistic, stark and open ended. His imagery can be riveting and incisive. The question that I had at the end of the novel, however, was that 'sadly' more than Kim Larsen was missing.
The ending seems rushed, there are huge gaps in character development, there are too many unresolved plot details and in the final analysis there were a lot of things that just did not add up. From my viewpoint, the novel seems more like an unfinished melody which lingers on; but then goes nowhere.
The basic premise of the book is powerful and gripping. And it is a shame that by the end of the novel, the reader may not feel satisfied. O'Nan wanted to create an emotional climate which would show and feel how families cope or not with this kind of disappearance. In part, he succeeded...he does leave you asking questions which you will never answer from the writing itself. However, the key problem is that O'Nan leaves you asking questions that should have been addressed and were not. For me, the novel did not come together and left me dissatisfied and looking for more.
For those readers who like open ended novels which leave much to their imagination, then this novel would have the potential to be an outstanding choice. It is all a matter of personal preference.
Three Stars ***
Message Edited by LeisaPS on 06-30-2008 08:37 AM
06-30-2008 09:20 AM
06-30-2008 09:44 AM
The book was just good enough to put my time in to read but disappointing at the end. The story of how a teenage daughter winds up missing is not an unfamiliar one. However, Stewart O'Nan's style of writing was not one that all readers, including myself, are fond of. The fact that there was so much put into each character and their build up was commendable to a point but than it seemed like it went a little overboard. When Kim Larson is first described, the book starts off well but then begins to drag as we meet more and more characters that continually have something about them that we are left to wonder about. It confused me. I think that is fine and makes for good reading if at SOME point, the things we don't know about them are at least revealed or connected in some way. If not, we "think" we know what the characters are like but never find out and can leave the reader frustrated.
When Kim shows up missing, the reaction of family and friends is not unusual to what one might expect but again the hints about some secrets that might help them find her are never explained so at the end, the reader is still left hanging.
Around page 100 just when I was ready to give up, I got caught up in the story and thought that there might be a resolution. But again, more teases are thrown in about what may have happened and certain characters when BAM!....suddenly the ending comes along with little to no explanation. I felt like Mr. O'Nan was in a hurry to finish the book and didn't explain enough about the kidnapper. I am all for wondering if he really did do it, but there was so little information about him, that who would know...or care? If I am to be left hanging about a novel, I want to have some good sound facts given to argue my case on what I thought happened and this novel just didn't do that.
I have read other novels of this author that I liked much more than this one. However, there are people who may love this style of writing and if that is your taste, more power to you. Thank you, however, Mr. O'Nan and Barnes and Noble for making this book available to us.
06-30-2008 11:09 AM
06-30-2008 12:49 PM
This is a fascinating novel. As with all novels written by Stewart O'Nan the writing is extraordinary and Literate, at times even lyrical. As a parent, I must admit this is a difficult novel, and therefore engrossing. It is every parent's worst nightmare. You really want to know what is going to happen. Doug
06-30-2008 02:26 PM
06-30-2008 04:50 PM
06-30-2008 08:43 PM
06-30-2008 11:57 PM
Songs for the Missing was a book I could not put down. Stewart O'Nan knows how to pull the reader into the story, invite him in for a visit, and make him relunctant to leave. The story is told by several of the characters in the book giving you a realistic look at how each person deals with the sudden disappearance of Kim Larson. You feel the mother's pain, the father's frustration, the sister's withdrawal, and the friends' guilt. Where is she and what can they do to find her? Although we get a glimpse of Kim's life before she disappears, this is really the story of her family, friends, and her community. O'Nan is a genius in drawing a realistic picture of the family and how they deal with the situation. He never ever gives away all the details. But rather moves the story along as he passes it back and forth between the characters. Perhaps, Kim's sister Lindsey is the one who must change the most during the tale. At the beginning of the book, she was a somewhat jealous younger sister of the popular, pretty girl in school. By the end of the tale, she has grown into a person who has had to find herself between posting flyers of her missing sibling! A moving story of hope, O'Nan has created a story that is both suspenseful as it is heartbreaking. An exceptional read!
07-01-2008 01:19 AM - edited 07-01-2008 01:36 AM
4 stars ****
A Haunting Tale
Songs for the Missing is about a teenaged girl who goes missing, and the struggle of her family, friends, and community to deal with grief, fear and the unknown. The story belongs, ultimately, not to Kim but to those she left behind.
I found the characters to be very relatable. I could see myself in all of them, and even when I didn't agree with the decisions they made, I understood why they made them. I do wish their feelings and characters could have been explored more fully, but with so many characters it would have been quite difficult to do so without getting in the way of the plot.
It was hard for me to read at points, not because it was slow, but because it was so real. If you personally know someone who has gone missing, this will probably be a very hard book for you to read.
There were parts that weren't as developed as I would have liked, and the ending seemed kind of rushed, and not as fulfilling as I had hoped. I would still recommend it, but it's not the kind of book I would reread again and again. That said, I will never forget it.
Recommended: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Message Edited by autumnrose on 07-01-2008 12:36 AM
07-01-2008 03:24 PM
I give this book a 4 star rating.
07-01-2008 08:46 PM
I felt that O'nan is a good writer, but found the book slow, not engaging, and lacking in plot. So many things were eluded to that never got explained to the reader, which I found really annoying. I did think it was an interesting look at how every individual reacts differently to a tragedy, but it felt rather more like a case study than a novel. If I want psychological case studies, I'll read the DSM.
I just finished reading "You're Lucky You're Funny" by Phil Rosenthal, the producer of Everybody Loves Raymond. A great look into the business of writing for TV and how it all comes together. Funny as well as informative.