Synopses & Reviews
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.
The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God is an honest and unflinching story of families unraveled and the heartache and joy only loved ones can spark in each other. With skill and tenderness, Timothy Schaffert unfolds his characters' hopes, strengths, and frailties in this gorgeous novel, revealing the crazy-quilt fabric of humanity.-Jennie Shortridge, author of Eating Heaven and Riding With the Queen
"I can't get over the delight of Tim Schaffert's new novel, with an instantly appealing cast of characters that won my heart so quickly and thoroughly. And the ending, as sweet and transcendant as any I can remember, lifted me right out of my chair." --Gerald Shapiro
" Quixotic . . . Schaffert creates a comically mopey little burg full of whimsical dreams . . . [a] treat. The novel also . . . underscore(s) the fragility of life and the passage of time. The novel remains playful yet never far from these shadows. Mr. Schaffert does not take his material lightly. He only makes it seem that way." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God"
doesn't feed us its story as much as it serves a continual stream of delicacies until your head spins. Think of it as the literary equivalent of dim sum. A totally whacked-out yarn about a divorced couple who still haven't quite split up, Schaffert's book is both ruthlessly funny and utterly compassionate about his characters' ridiculous aspirations -- the main character sings country songs in a Ramada Inn, dreaming of making it big -- and tragic limitations.”Meghan Daum, Salon.com
Laced with hope and an aching sweetness, it is as whimsical and smile-inducing as its title. Readers will fall for Hud, his family, and the one-off inhabitants of the quirky little town from page one owing to Schaffert's homey yet elegant and precise prose. The only reason to put the book down is to make it last.” Library Journal, starred
Schaffert has wit and a lovely writing style.”Entertainment Weekly
An unflinching tale of family heartache.”Out Magazine
[A] quirky tragicomedy.”TimeOut Chicago
Achy-breaky dysfunction drives a messy, funny family drama in this small town Nebraska tale, told in a winning faux-naïve style
film, along with music, plays a wonderful incidental role throughout
Deft, sweet and surprising.” Publishers Weekly
An honest and unflinching story of families unraveled and the heartache and joy only loved ones can spark in each other. With skill and tenderness
Schaffert unfolds his characters' hopes, strengths, and frailties in this gorgeous novel...”Jennie Shortridge, author of Eating Heaven and Riding With the Queen
An elegantly written olio of country music, heartbreak and gospel singing groups, of children and their tired fathers who may yet have the time and talent to get their lives straight
.a cracking good read.”The Omaha World-Herald
"I can't get over the delight of Tim Schafferts new novel, with an instantly appealing cast of characters that won my heart so quickly and thoroughly. And the ending, as sweet and transcendent as any I can remember, lifted me right out of my chair."Gerald Shapiro
Timothy Schaffert's first book won the Nebraska Book Award in 2003 and charmed major reviewers. This second book is surely destined for a similar response. Schaffert's style is purely his own. His characters are earthy and real, common folk with endearing foibles and vulnerabilities. Schaffert breathes life into his characters with a delicate touch, lending a poignant dignity to even the oddest misfit. The result is life boiled down to its heartiest essence
.[The book] is often humorous, yes, but thanks to Schaffert's story telling style it is not a cruel parody of life's rejects. These are lives made up of large and small failures, joys, and negotiations. And Schaffert makes them shine. Highly recommended.”Laurel Johnson for Midwest Book Review
This splendid new book echoes the wacky humor of Schafferts first book The Phantom Limbs of the Rollow Sisters” and yet both treat seriously the complexity of family ties that persist against all odds.” The Lincoln-Journal Star
What makes it work is Schafferts deep understanding of (and compassion for) his characters, with all their irrationalities and contradictions. Though the plot allows Schaffert to display his sharp sense of irony and humor, ultimately it is the characters themselves that drive the story. Hud, for example, may be a lousy husband and father, but he means well and loves his children in his own fumbling way
remains a writer worth reading, a talented novelist with a style all his own.”Nebraska Life Magazine
This loopy, relaxed tale
ingratiates itself, along with the hero, into our hearts
The plot bumps along, veering from the surreal - a defrocked priest selling fake "bones of martyrs" at the local drive-in movie - to the mundane, but always beckoning the reader with a gentleness of spirit that puts out the emotional welcome mat
Schaffert has a talent for creating characters for whom one develops an almost immediate soft spot. I caught myself wanting this dysfunctional bunch to get back together, God knows why. When things are finally - maybe - headed in that direction, the plot wanderings become a notch more unusual, but the sweetness can't be held back any longer. Just try to imagine a more endearing picture than three of the family members in the stolen school bus to rescue the fourth.”The Durango Herald
About the Author
Timothy Schaffert grew up on a farm in Nebraska and currently lives in Omaha. He's the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Phantom Limbs of the Rollow Sisters. His short fiction has been published in several literary journals and he's won numerous awards, including the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award and the Nebraska Book Award.