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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|Title of eBook: Sky of Stone|
|Release Date: 10-29-2002|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Sky of Stone|
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Sky of Stone
The Coalwood Proposition
When once the president of the United States called his nation to greatness, and told the world we were going to the moon, Coalwood, West Virginia, remained what it had always been, a town that mined coal. When President Kennedy also said Americans were going to do many grand and wonderful things, not because they were easy but because they were hard, Coalwood’s men continued to walk out of fog-shrouded hollows and descend beneath their mountains to grub out the coal by the millions of tons to send to the blast furnaces of Ohio and Pennsylvania so as to make steel. For if coal failed, the people of Coalwood believed, steel failed. And if steel failed, so did the country, no matter what else might happen, even with a young president’s dream of glory on the moon.
I was born in 1943 and raised a Coalwood boy, the second son of Homer Hickam, a mine foreman who loved the town more than his life, and Elsie Lavender, a woman who could not love Coalwood no matter how hard she tried. Although my given name was the same as my father’s, my mother tagged me early on with “Sunny” — the light of her life. Believing it was more important for me to know who I was rather than what my mother hoped I might be, my first-grade teacher at the Coalwood School changed the spelling to “Sonny” — the son of Homer. Although she didn’t like it, my mom chose not to argue. In Coalwood, the teachers were considered the final social arbiters.
During my childhood, I came to understand that Coalwood was more than houses, roads, and company facilities. It was also a proposition. This propositio...