Sometimes a book sneaks up on you, surpassing any expectation you might have had for that. Most recently for me, that book was Songs for the Missing. You might be wondering why I bothered to pick up a book that I didn’t even know or care much about, but isn’t that how this always works? Something made me pick it up. It has been lounging on my shelves, waiting quietly, for me to choose it.
Songs for the Missing begins simply enough. Kim Larsen, during the summer after her senior year of high school, goes missing. This story is not about Kim, but about all who knew her and the repercussions her disappearance have on her life. This story is not about what happens, it’s not about simple actions; instead, it is a treatise on the family and the ties that keep them together and drive them apart.
Stewart O’Nan could probably write about anything, anything, and I would think it was amazing. It’s kind of like the way Julie Andrews could say anything and it would be lovely. He just has the kind of writing that I really respond to as a reader and as a writer. But beyond that, I truly did care for these characters. They felt so real and alive to me.
O’Nan smartly sets his book in 2005, far enough that it looks different from today, but still familiar. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love current culture in books that give it a place and a time. Sure, it can date a book, but it can also provide such a stronger sense of reality.
I can see why people don’t necessarily love this book. There isn’t much in terms of action and the characters aren’t exactly that likable, but I just couldn’t get enough of this. The writing, for me, was superb and the people in this novel so real that I just couldn’t stop reading. I found myself craving this book when I was doing other things.
So go read this!: now | tomorrow | next week | next month | next year | when you’ve exhausted your TBR pile
Caribousmom, Devourer of Books, The Boston Bibliophile, Leafing Through Life, Booking Mama, books i done read, and Books on the Brain all have posts about Songs for the Missing. Do you? Let me know in the comments and I’ll link to it on this list.