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.
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.
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! :)
The novel felt painfully average. It was easy to read, with a good mystery element in it. Furthermore, there are some haunting characters and heart-breaking moments that linger after the novel is back on the shelf. However, it didn’t compare to the other Findley novels I’ve read.
I know this book is brilliant—at least that’s what the critics say. I just can’t pretend to like it because it was nominated for a Giller prize.
If I want tortured family, I’ll choose The Corrections over the Kilworths any day.