A blithe and redemptive seriocomic love story filled with country music, the ghosts of Halloween, and an ironic brand of down-home religion.
Newly divorced and feeling the pain of separation from his family, Hud Smith channels his regret into writing country-western songs, contemplating life on the lam with his 8-year-old daughter, and searching cryptic postcards for news of his teenage son who has run off with The Daughters of God, an alternative Gospel-punk band of growing fame. Then he finds himself inching toward reconciliation with his ex, tossing his whole talent for misery into question as they head off in a borrowed school bus, hoping so very tentatively to bring the entire family together again.
In this endearing misadventure that threatens to turn out right in spite of it all, Schaffert writes a thin line between tragedy and hilarity, turning wry humor and a keen sense of the paradoxical onto characters who deserve all the tender care he gives them.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)|
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A nightlight near Nina's bed lit the room enough for Hud to see Nina sleeping still in a cowgirl costume, still even in boots and prairie skirt and western shirt printed with yellow roses. A straw hat hung on the bedpost. Hud tugged on Nina's skirt and she woke peacefully, too peacefully, Hud thought. "You shouldn't be sleeping next to an open window," he whispered, and Nina sat up in bed and puckered her lips for a kiss. Hud kissed her, then said, "Any creep could come along. Aren't you afraid of creeps?"
"Oh, sure," Nina said, shrugging her shoulders.
"Let's go for a drive some place," Hud said. He opened the window and lifted the torn flap of the screen.
"OK," she said, standing up in the bed, "but first, don't you like my costume? We went to a party."
"It's nice," Hud said.
"I'm Opal Lowe," she said, and Hud was touched that she dressed up like Opal Lowe, his favorite country singer. He'd taken Nina to a county fair a few weeks before to see Opal singing in the open-air auditorium. . . . Nina had loved it and had hummed along as Opal Lowe sang about her man's habits, of how he had liquored her up on Wild Turkey, lit her Old Golds, made her need him like water.
. . . Hud jotted a note in crayon: "I'll be back with her before sunlight, before you even read this," and left it atop the rumpled covers of the bed. Nina crawled onto his back, and they slipped through the torn window screen. He imagined never returning with her, imagined his picture next to her picture on fliers sent through the mail.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The title & cover are misleading. This is a fairly standard dysfunctional family story, except a little lighter & the family is pretty committed to getting it right, just can't seem to manage it. Unusual, too, for being set in small-town central Nebraska. And the title is also misleading because the Singing & Dancing Daughters of God, a female gospel singing group, make only a cameo appearance, & religion, though important to a few of the characters, is not treated as important to the story.
A bluesy, darkly comic portrait of a family on the edge. Combines qualities of the Southern gothic tradition with a truly original voice. The characters are rich and authentic, working within a world of gritty, magical realism. Charming, entertaining.
Reading 'The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God' was a complete waste of time. All of the characters are either drunk or depressed through the entire book. The story was uneventful, and when the book was over, I felt like it didn't accomplished anything. There were no exciting moments, no disappointing moments... nothing even remotely interesting about this book at all. I was thoroughly disappointed and unimpressed.
Hud Smith feels lonely since his wife Tuesday divorced him and he only sees his eight years old daughter Nina sporadically especially when his ex turns vindictive his seventeen years old son Gatling never visits him. He knows Tuesday is not at fault re his boy as Gatling joined the traveling Daughters of God punk-gospel band. Hud realizes he is hurting as he fantasizes running away with his beloved Nina and even commiserates with an executed killer who murdered his wife and children writing mournful country ballads, odes to his woes............. A desperate Hud wants his family back with him. He persuades Tuesday that they must ¿rescue¿ Gatling so they and Nina hit the road in a school bus he ¿borrows¿ in search of their son. As he dreams of reconciliation he knows he must do what is right for his family even if that means no second chance with Tuesday, but that thought is killing him............... Hud is an eccentric protagonist whose ramblings, asides, and actions feel in some ways like a gender bending almost fortyish chick lit make that hunk tale. Hud hurts as he misses seeing his daughter on a regular basis and though he insists he hates Tuesday he knows he also yearns to be back in her life as her spouse. Readers will feel for him though believing he deserves much of the misfortune that has fallen on him that is why this character study is so engaging even when the plot turns soap operaish as Timothy Schaffert obtains dueling emotions from his awed audience............... Harriet Klausner