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  • Location: Newfoundland

Our Homesick Songs

Why a Booktrail?

2000s:When somewhere was once your home, now becomes a place to leave behind…

  • ISBN: 978-1501124488
  • Genre: Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

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.

Travel Guide

Newfoundland

The story is set in Newfoundland, Canada in 1992. The fictional village where the story is set is Big Running – a small fishing village in the middle of nowhere it would seem.

Then there’s the neighbouring village of Little Running:

“Little Running was a small space, only six houses…”

The people live off the land, the waters provide their fish. But now the fish vanish from the treacherous waters surrounding their community. Soon it’s not just the fish that are starting to disappear. The children no longer go to school, and the island is slowly shutting down. Aidan and Martha must now work alternate months on the mainland and get there any which way they can. Cora decorates houses under a country theme and Finn learn to play the accordion. They dream of enticing fish back to their waters or who knows what will become of Little Running.

The island

“The southern half of the island had trees, clumps of dark, skinny  tamaracks and firs, but the northern half, where they lived, was too windy, where it was just rocks and lichen and bog and more rocks. Finn stood up beside his cairn he could see out for miles Miles and miles of bumpy orange and gray. And sometimes caribou , too, in heavy brown clusters, or less often just one at a time”

There’s a nice little bakery and a nice neighbour’s house with a library where Cora finds a series of travel books which sets of her idea to paint houses according to a particular country theme.

The Songs

Many songs in the book are real folk songs from Newfoundland. The author explains that “She’s like the Swallow” is perhaps one of Newfoundland’s best -known and most celebrated songs. It’s special for many reasons but in particular because it’s written in a modal key which means it’s not major or minor, lending  a melancholic feel ancient feel. The other songs in the book also reflect the traditions and history of the town.

Homesick Songs

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @thebooktrailer

What a lyrical and musical story. Set in Newfoundland, it’s a homage to the people, traditions and music there and told in the most beautiful ways. Finn is only eleven but he gives himself the task of trying to get the fish back to the waters so the islanders won’t starve. The island will die without them, their parents are away working and the children have to do what they can.

It’s a slow, gentle read but there’s so much beauty and simplicity in being in the moment that I didn’t mind. Newfoundland is the essence of this novel which may be set in a fictional village but has the traits of a proud community and people.
It’s character focused but the mix of that, the setting and the music made it a very unique read. I could almost see the glow in the sky a bit like the northern lights as I read, it’s that kind of ethereal prose.

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  Our Homesick Songs

Destination : Newfoundland  Author/Guide: Emma Hooper  Departure Time: 1992

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