The Coalwood Way

Coalwood

Book 2
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It's fall, 1959, and Homer "Sonny" Hickam and his fellow Rocket Boys are in their senior year at Big Creek High, launching handbuilt rockets that soar thousands of feet into the West Virginia sky. But in a season traditionally marked by celebrations of the spirit, Coalwood finds itself at a painful crossroads.

The strains can be felt within the Hickam home, where a beleaguered HomerSr. is resorting to a daring but risky plan to keep the mine alive, and his wife Elsie is feeling increasingly isolated from both her family and the townspeople. And Sonny, despite a blossoming relationship with a local girl whose dreams are as big as his, finds his own mood repeatedly darkened by an unexplainable sadness.

Eager to rally the town's spirits and make her son's final holiday season at home a memorable one, Elsie enlists Sonny and the Rocket Boys' aid in making the Coalwood Christmas Pageant the best ever. But trouble at the mine and the arrival of a beautiful young outsider threaten to tear the community apart when it most needs to come together. And when disaster strikes at home, and Elsie's beloved pet squirrel escapes under his watch, Sonny realizes that helping his town and redeeming himself in his mother's eyes may be a bigger-and more rewarding-challenge than he has ever faced.

The result is pure storytelling magic- a tale of small-town parades and big-hearted preachers, the timeless love of families and unforgettable adventures of boyhood friends-that could only come from the man who brought the world Rocket Boys


From the Hardcover edition.
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More by Homer Hickam

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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.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Island Books
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Published on
Dec 18, 2007
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780307423320
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Literary
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Social Science / Regional Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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See entire series

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.
Sometimes evil has a familiar face . . . Paul Artisan, P.I. is a new version of an old breed -- a righter of wrongs, someone driven to get to the bottom of things. Too bad his usual cases are of the boring malpractice and fraud variety. Until now. His new gig turns on the disappearance of one of a pair of twins, adult scions of a rich but tragedy-prone family. The missing twin -- a charismatic poster-boy for irresponsibility -- has spent his life daring people to hate him, punishing himself endlessly for his screw-ups and misdeeds. The other twin -- Artisan's client -- is dutiful and resentful in equal measure, bewildered that his "other half" could have turned out so badly, and wracked by guilt at his inability to reform him. He has a more practical reason, as well, for wanting his brother found: their crazy father, in failing health and with guilty secrets of his own, will not divide the family fortune until both siblings are accounted for. But it isn't just a fortune that's at stake here. Truth itself is up for grabs, as the detective's discoveries seem to challenge everything we think we know about identity, and human nature, and family. As Artisan journeys across the globe to track down the bad twin, he seems to have moved into a mirror-world where friends and enemies have a way of looking very much alike. The P.I. may have his long-awaited chance to put his courage and ideals to the test, but if he doesn't get to the bottom of this case soon, it could very well cost him his life. Troup's long-awaited Bad Twin is a suspenseful novel that touches on many powerful themes, including the consequence of vengeance, the power of redemption, and where to turn when all seems lost. Bad Twin is a work of fiction and all names, characters and incidents are used fictitiously; the author himself is a fictional character.
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