Nebraska Center for Writers

Chimney Rock What the Critics Say
About Stephanie Kallos


Stephanie Kallos, daughter of Lincolnites Greg and Dorie Kallos, spent 20 years in theater before turning to fiction. Her wonderful debut novel, a fine book club choice, is making a splash. Reclusive 76-year-old Margaret lives in a house full of priceless antiques with a shameful past. When a brain tumor is diagnosed she impulsively opens her lavish Seattle mansion to a boarder, a young woman with a broken heart. These two shattered women become a family, a family that grows and grows as the result of Margaret's released spirit and the healing that comes when she finds a way to make amends for terrible wrongs done by her father. This rewarding book, full of eccentric characters and broken hearts, ultimately shows us the splendor of mended spirits. Glorious. — Lee Booksellers

A dazzling mosaic of intersecting lives and fates...[A] multi-layered rhapsody ... Kallos has a rare, deft way with whimsy ... Comparisons to John Irving and Tennesse Williams would not be amiss in this show-stopping debut. — Kirkus Reviews

Stephanie Kallos' lovely and heartfelt first novel is a gift. A story of broken hearts and broken promises, it is also the story of the ways we put things back together messily, beautifully, and ultimately triumphantly. Kallos is a writer to watch, and one who, mercifully, still believes in happy endings. — Sheri Holman, author of The Mammoth Cheese

A wondrous tale people with quirky characters and implausible plot twists, but no cheap tricks. ... That's part of its charm. You read on because it works the way life works, in stops and starts, with dreams and memory competing with the day's reality. — Lincoln Journal Star

Kallos's (Broken for You) enthralling second novel takes the reader by storm. ... Themes of family bonds and conflicts, secrets and sorrows also marked Kallos's debut, and this time she weaves in an idiosyncratic view of the role of the dead in the lives of the living, sharp takes on business, academic and sexual politics, and a palpable empathy for small Midwestern towns. This novel will find a welcome audience in anyone who has experienced grief, struggled with family ties or, most importantly, appreciates blossoming talent. — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Sing Them Home ushers us into small-town life, with all its distinctive cultural nuances, eccentric personalities, and homegrown secrets. With the same beauty and lyricism of her first novel, Broken for You, Kallos stitches together a colorful patchwork of memories and images, creating a rich narrative fabric that develops and changes as it passes through each character's hands. — Booklist

[A] fresh, invigorating novel ... Kallos tenderly shows us [her characters'] failings as they stumble, in a realistic and satisfying manner, toward better selves. Highly recommended. — Library Journal (starred review)

Brilliant. ... A richly textured, deeply satisfying, and enduring read — a whirlwind of aching sadness, secret histories, sex that's by turns empty and angry and sloppy and transformative, moments of great sweetness and joy that are never saccharine, and ultimately, resolution and redemption that are well-earned and in no way false or forced. Before Sing Them Home, Kallos was already, arguably, the best first-novelist of the Aughts; now it's abundantly clear that she's becoming quite a bit more than that. — First Look Books blog

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Nebraska Center for Writers