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A broken promise, a terrifying legacy


Singing Songs
Meg Tilly

Syren
November 2006
On Sale: October 28, 2006
Featuring: Anna
252 pages
ISBN: 0929636627
EAN: 9780929636627
Paperback
$14.95
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Fiction

Originally published in 1994 to critical acclaim, Singing Songs still resonates as a profound statement about the secrets families keep from the rest of the world, as Anna, the resilient young narrator, journeys through childhood trapped in a fragmented family caught in a cycle of abuse, denial, and neglect. This new edition includes a foreword by the author, reflecting on how Singing Songs came to be written.

Anna's mother came home one day, scrubbed the apartment from top to bottom, brushed out her hair, and opened the door to a stranger. He was tall, with a smile that showed too many teeth, and the way he called Mama beautiful made Anna cry and hide.

The stranger married Mama and moved in, bringing his family with him - two girls and a boy with gangly limbs, toast-colored hair, and no possessions of their own. So Anna had a new family and found that her life contained a new and forceful presence: Richard.

Shaped by an exacting cinematic sensibility, Singing Songs explores how one family lives, centerless, caught in a flux of emotion and violence that touches and transforms each of its members. Nomadic and insular, Anna's family follows the shifting sands of temporary employment, fleeing from social workers, schools, and nearly all the conventions of society. Anna makes pets of barn owls and a fawn, and paints radiators with her hands during a summer work trip on the road. She pretends fiercely, imagines grandly, and when Richard comes upstairs at night for "kissing lessons," she winds herself and her sister tightly in a sheet, cocoon-like, for protection. And gradually, with all the force of innocence and a fierce loyalty to herself, Anna seizes pieces of the world as her own.

Singing Songs is the masterful realization of a young girl's journey to adulthood in a chaotic, abusive, and fragmented world; an affirmation of a child's ability to use her judgment and imagination alone to light her way. It is the story of a strange and beautiful metamorphosis and a profound statement about the dark and secret places of family life.

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The View - October 5, 2006

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