The piano man's daughter

by Timothy Findley

Paper Book, 1995




Toronto : HarperCollins, c1995.


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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member quixotic-creator
Findley writes so well that it is next to impossible to not be captivated from the beginning. This is a very well-written and powerful story, although I have to admit that the ending is a bit predictable. Nevertheless, one is drawn into the complex world of Lily Kilworth and her son Charlie, as Charlie searches to understand his mother, her illnesses and consequently both of their lives. Brilliant and wholly engaging.… (more)
LibraryThing member bcquinnsmom
There are a multitude of stories in this book, but the main story is that told by Charlie, the son of Lily, who is the Piano-Man's Daughter. He starts the story upon Lily's death in a mental asylum, and from page one the story carried me away so that I got absolutely nothing done all day but reading this novel.

Lily was conceived & born in the same field, in the late 1880s, raised on a farm in Canada and touched the lives of all of those around her. But Lily had an illness, seizures, not just the type coming from epilepsy, but a genetic defect that led to madness. All of her young life, her mother, Edith (Ede) had protected her and in so doing, denied herself, until the Piano Man's brother (Lily's father had died in a terrible accident) came along to claim her as his bride. While this was good for Ede, for Lily it meant the beginning of years of suffering.

Spanning the years from the 1880s through World War II, the novel is incredible. I can't even begin to describe it. The writing is beautiful, the characters are extremely vivid, wanting to leap off of the page. I highly highly recommend it.
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LibraryThing member Trippy
A real treasure to read...made into a film as well.
LibraryThing member iayork
Beautiful Tale of a Mother's Madness: I've read very few books by Timothy Findley it's a bit hard to find his works here where I live. And have to rely much on Amazon or other online bookstores to find his works. However, the tale of Lily Kilworth is by far my favorite. His poignant narrative makes it very easy to imagine her life as it unfolds. Her brief moments of happiness are a joy just as the moments of torment are horrible to see. Very few books have brought me to tears yet with this one I found myself reaching for the tissue box as I turned the page. This book is truly a wonderful addition to those who appreciate good literature. My only complain is that like another reviewer here, I too think it has far too many Italics.… (more)
LibraryThing member LDVoorberg
What I found most intriguing about this book is it's narration. As a whole, it is narrated by the grandson of the "Piano Man" but he tells the story based on what he learned from his (grandson's) grandmother and mother (the title character) and his own observations. So the story really spans three generations.
I can't articulate what it was about this book that made me enjoy it. I chalk it up to a well-written and unique story with interesting characters. It's not difficult reading by any means, but it's not light and fluffy, either. It's literature! :)… (more)
LibraryThing member NeedMoreShelves
What a heartbreakingly lovely novel. The characters were well-drawn, the plot moved forward gracefully - I enjoyed this very much. Will definitely look for more by this author. Recommended.


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