Homer Hickam won the praise of critics and the devotion of readers with his first two memoirs set in the hardscrabble mining town of Coalwood, West Virginia. The New York Times crowned his first book, the #1 national bestseller October Sky, “an eloquent evocation ... a thoroughly charming memoir.” And People called The Coalwood Way, Hickam’s follow-up to October Sky, “a heartwarmer ... truly beautiful and haunting.” Now Homer Hickam continues his extraordinary story with Sky of Stone, dazzling us with exquisite storytelling as he takes us back to that remarkable small town we first came to know and love in October Sky.In the summer of ‘61, Homer “Sonny” Hickam, a year of college behind him, was dreaming of sandy beaches and rocket ships. But before Sonny could reach the seaside fixer-upper where his mother was spending the summer, a telephone call sends him back to the place he thought he had escaped, the gritty coal-mining town of Coalwood, West Virginia. There, Sonny’s father, the mine’s superintendent, has been accused of negligence in a man’s death — and the townspeople are in conflict over the future of the town.Sonny’s mother, Elsie, has commanded her son to spend the summer in Coalwood to support his father. But within hours, Sonny realizes two things: His father, always cool and distant with his second son, doesn’t want him there ... and his parents’ marriage has begun to unravel. For Sonny, so begins a summer of discovery — of love, betrayal, and most of all, of a brooding mystery that threatens to destroy his father and his town. Cut off from his college funds by his father, Sonny finds himself doing the unimaginable: taking a job as a “track-laying man,” the toughest in the mine. Moving out to live among the miners, Sonny is soon dazzled by a beautiful older woman who wants to be the mine’s first female engineer. And as the days of summer grow shorter, Sonny finds himself changing in surprising ways, taking the first real steps toward adulthood. But it’s a journey he can make only by peering into the mysterious heart of Coalwood itself, and most of all, by unraveling the story of a man’s death and a father’s secret.In Sky of Stone, Homer Hickam looks down the corridors of his past with love, humor, and forgiveness, brilliantly evoking a close-knit community where everyone knows everything about each other’s lives — except the things that matter most. Sky of Stone is a memoir that reads like a novel, mesmerizing us with rich language, narrative drive, and sheer storytelling genius.From the Hardcover edition.
Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on Oct 9, 2001
Homer Hickam continues to astound me with the touching and funny and marvelous writing he does about his life as a coal town "boy". This episode, the last in his trilogy about Coalwood, WV, is set the summer of 1962. This is the summer after his first year of college and it is an amazing tale involving secrets, lies, growing and learning. Sonny (Homer's boyhood nickname) does most of the growing and spends a lot of time trying to uncover the secrets and the lies. Anyone who wants to see the good in life, even in hard times, should read this trilogy - it is a wonderful journey from someone who went from a coal mine in West Virginia to an engineer for NASA who has traveled the world.read more
Homer Hickam grew up in a West Virginia mining town. He wasn't a miner, nor a football player, as was everyone else in the twon. He and his friends played with rockets. When he went away to study engineering, there was an accident at the mines. His father was being blamed for the death of man. Homer's life was disrupted as he went home to try and help.This story continues from October Sky in the story of Homer Hickam, but the book stands well on its own. We meet the characters, and understand some of the sociology of a small mining town and its issues. The story is a mystery, unraveling the events leading to the death of one of the mining supervisors. Although, I don't think the reader can solve the mystery himself, it is a good mystery, and an interesting anecdote in the life of Homer "Sonny" Hickam.read more
After completing a rigorous freshman year at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Homer Hickam plans to relax at Myrtle Beach with his mother. His mother urges Homer to stay in Coalwood. His father is facing some serious mining issues; however, Dad doesn't want Homer's help. Homer's relationship with his father remains strained. Against his parents' wishes, Homer takes a summer job in the Coalwood mines. His father warns him, "You'll get the jobs no one else wants." Homer moves into the miners' club house where he has to pay for meals, clothes, rent and mining equipment. He has little money left at the end of the month. Homer's job consists of removing and replacing track, as well as, a variety of other tasks; he builds muscle and character. He develops a crush on Rita, a junior engineer. Throughout his college summers, Homer continues to work in the mines. This memoir is a poignant journey of a young man's personal development and an in-depth look at the coal mining industry.read more
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