Left pregnant when her lover, Tom Wyatt, the dashing piano man at the Queen's Hotel, dies, Ede Kilworth and her daughter, Lily, make a new life for themselves, until Tom's older brother returns to claim Ede as his own. By the author of Headhunter.
As the story opens, Lily, the heroine of Timothy Findley's Victorian-Gothic-style novel as seen through the narrative of her son Charlie, is ending her days in an asylum; her life unfolds as a Dickensian tale of deprivation and struggle between the feminine and the coldly masculine, leading to that "madwoman in the attic" denouement. Yet Charlie is reclaiming his mother's life through his loving telling of her story. "She could break your heart with that riveting gaze," he says. Music, vaudeville, and silent movies resonate through the lives in the novel, set in turn-of-the-century Toronto. Findley is a best-selling and award-winning Canadian writer, author of The Wars and Famous Last Words.
In 1939, piano tuner Charlie Kilworth ponders two questions: who was his father? and, given the madness that consumed his mother Lily, does he dare become a father himself? His quest reveals more than he imagined about Lily, herself the daughter of a piano player, and her colourful, tormented life amid the lively characters and rich sense of early-twentieth-century Toronto.
From the Back Cover