Narrated by Charlie Kilworth, whose birth is an echo of his mother's own illegitimate beginnings, The Piano Man's Daughter is the lyrical, multilayered tale of Charlie's mother, Lily, his grandmother Ede, and their family. Lily is a woman pursued by her own demons, "making off with the matches just when the fires caught hold," "a beautiful, mad genius, first introduced to us singing in her mother's belly." It is also the tale of people who dream in songs, two Irish immigrant families facing a new and uncertain future in turn-of-the-century Toronto. Finally, it is a richly detailed tribute to a golden epoch in our history and of a generation striking the last, haunting chord of innocence.
The Piano Man's Daughter is a symphony of wonderful storytelling, unforgettable characters, and a lilting, lingering melody that plays on long after the last page has been turned.
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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.From the Back Cover:
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.
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