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The Evening Chorus: A Novel
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Published:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015
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Description

A "delicate and incandescent" novel of love, loss, escape, and the ways the natural world can save us amid the chaos of war (San Francisco Chronicle). World War II. Downed during his first mission, James Hunter is taken captive as a German POW. To bide his time, he studies a nest of redstarts at the edge of camp. Some prisoners plot escape; some are shot. And then, one day, James is called to the Kommandant's office. Meanwhile, back home, James's new wife, Rose, is on her own, free in a way she has never known. Then, James's sister, Enid, loses everything during the Blitz and must seek shelter with Rose. In a cottage near Ashdown Forest, the two women jealously guard secrets, but form a surprising friendship. Each of these characters finds unexpected freedom amid war's privations and discover confinements that come with peace. "Beautifully written [and] extremely controlled." —TheWashington Post "Lyrical . . . Humphreys is a metaphysical novelist; for her, intricate emotional content finds specific analogues in the made world." —The New Yorker "With her trademark prose—exquisitely limpid—Humphreys convinces us of the birdlike strength of the powerless." —Emma Donoghue "This riveting novel is a song. Listen." —Richard Bausch

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/03/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780544352971
ASIN:
B00HK3F5CS
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Helen Humphreys. (2015). The Evening Chorus: A Novel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Helen Humphreys. 2015. The Evening Chorus: A Novel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Helen Humphreys, The Evening Chorus: A Novel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Helen Humphreys. The Evening Chorus: A Novel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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140c42d0-530c-e537-3ac1-60e7df4645fc
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Needs Update?:
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:51:18
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 07:42:19
Last Metadata Check:
Apr 16, 2021 18:31:12
Last Metadata Change:
Sep 26, 2020 16:57:33
Last Availability Check:
Apr 16, 2021 18:31:15
Last Availability Change:
Dec 24, 2020 00:25:27
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
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OverDrive Product Record

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        Helen Humphreys' novels include several New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Among other awards, she has received the Lambda Prize for fiction and was longlisted for the Dublin Impac. She has written four books of poetry, six novels, and two works of creative nonfiction.

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shortDescription

A "delicate and incandescent" novel of love, loss, escape, and the ways the natural world can save us amid the chaos of war (San Francisco Chronicle).

World War II. Downed during his first mission, James Hunter is taken captive as a German POW. To bide his time, he studies a nest of redstarts at the edge of camp. Some prisoners plot escape; some are shot. And then, one day, James is called to the Kommandant's office. Meanwhile, back home, James's new wife, Rose, is on her own, free in a way she has never known.

Then, James's sister, Enid, loses everything during the Blitz and must seek shelter with Rose. In a cottage near Ashdown Forest, the two women jealously guard secrets, but form a surprising friendship. Each of these characters finds unexpected freedom amid war's privations and discover confinements that come with peace.

"Beautifully written [and] extremely controlled." —TheWashington Post

isOwnedByCollections
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title
The Evening Chorus
fullDescription

A "delicate and incandescent" novel of love, loss, escape, and the ways the natural world can save us amid the chaos of war (San Francisco Chronicle).

World War II. Downed during his first mission, James Hunter is taken captive as a German POW. To bide his time, he studies a nest of redstarts at the edge of camp. Some prisoners plot escape; some are shot. And then, one day, James is called to the Kommandant's office. Meanwhile, back home, James's new wife, Rose, is on her own, free in a way she has never known.

Then, James's sister, Enid, loses everything during the Blitz and must seek shelter with Rose. In a cottage near Ashdown Forest, the two women jealously guard secrets, but form a surprising friendship. Each of these characters finds unexpected freedom amid war's privations and discover confinements that come with peace.

"Beautifully written [and] extremely controlled." —TheWashington Post

"Lyrical . . . Humphreys is a metaphysical novelist; for her, intricate emotional content finds specific analogues in the made world." —The New Yorker

"With her trademark prose—exquisitely limpid—Humphreys convinces us of the birdlike strength of the powerless." —Emma Donoghue

"This riveting novel is a song. Listen." —Richard Bausch

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      • premium: False
      • source: Jo Baker, author of Longbourn
      • content:

        "In The Evening Chorus the interventions of war, and the resulting human tragedies, play out against a natural world at once remote, alien and ultimately redemptive. The novel has a crystalline quality about it--it's clear and complex and self-contained. It sparkles."

      • premium: False
      • source: Helen Dunmore, author of The Siege and A Spell of Winter
      • content:

        "The Evening Chorus is a poised, lyrical novel about the griefs of war, written with poetic intensity of observation. It resonates afterwards. I read it with pleasure."

      • premium: False
      • source: Richard Bausch, author of The Last Good Time and Before, During, After
      • content:

        "If there's a writer of English prose with a more profound connection to the natural world and to the subtleties of human love and sorrow than Helen Humphreys, I don't know who it is. The Evening Chorus is rich with her particular gift for symphonic cadences and beautiful imagery that moves a story forward with the momentum of a big train gathering speed. This riveting novel is a song. Listen."

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from December 1, 2014
        Humphreys (Nocturne, 2013, etc.) offers a heartbreaking yet redemptive story about loss and survival surrounding a British prisoner of war during World War II and the wife he barely got to know before his capture. After James' plane is shot down on his first mission as an RAF pilot in 1940, the former grammar school science teacher spends the rest of the war in POW camps, where he watches fellow prisoners fail, often fatally, in their attempts at escape. Deciding he prefers simple survival, he eschews such attempts and concentrates on keeping a journal on local birds. He also develops a complicated relationship with the prison's kommandant, a classics professor who studied at Oxford and serves grudgingly in the military; he recognizes a kindred spirit in James and allows his nature study. In her nuanced description of the kommandant's attempts at kindness and James' responses both during and after the war, Humphries uncovers the human dimension in wartime brutality. Meanwhile, deeply in love with his new wife, Rose, James purposely writes her letters focused on bird lore instead of his own condition because "he doesn't want his words home to degenerate into a litany of complaint." In a sad irony, Rose misunderstands his intent-not unlike the way James misinterprets the kommandant's intent in taking him to see a rare cedar waxwing-and assumes he doesn't feel strongly about her. Desperately lonely, she becomes involved with a soldier stationed nearby, discovering with her lover the passionate emotion James feels but cannot express. Cut to 1950 as James and Rose face the war's aftermath with varying measures of guilt, bitterness and resilience, not to mention what ifs. As Rose realizes, "[i]t's so hard to get life right....All the small balances are impossible to strike most of the time." Humphreys deserves more recognition for the emotional intensity and evocative lyricism of her seemingly straightforward prose and for her ability to quietly squirrel her way into the reader's heart.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from December 1, 2014
        Captured as a prisoner of war after he is shot down during his very first mission, James Hunter copes with Nazi captivity by studying a family of birds nesting just beyond the camp's confines. His devotion to their daily habits draws the attention of the kommandant, who bewilders James with uncharacteristic acts of kindness. Yet as James immerses himself in the welfare of the fledgling birds, his newlywed wife, Rose, struggles with their separation, which may be too much for their young marriage to successfully weather. In the midst of her loneliness and confusion arrives Enid, James' sister, fleeing war-damaged London and carrying burdens beyond the loss of her home and job. Like birdsthrown off course by severe storms, James, Rose, and Enid all emerge from the war in places far different from where they started. Inspired by the resiliency of the natural world, Humphreys (Coventry, 2009) creates a narrative arc that is compact and sinewy, yet from her spare prose and refined imagery springs an arresting novel of regret, contrition, and redemption that glimmers with transcendent moments of hope and valor. An ingeniously elegant and instinctively restrained tale about the durability of the human spirit.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

subtitle
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popularity
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publisher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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