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“I have lived many times, Doctor Jung. Who knows, as Leda I might have been the mother of Helen—or, as Anne, the mother of Mary…. I was also crippled shepherd in thrall of Saint Teresa of Avila; an Irish stable boy and a maker of stained glass at Chartres…. I saw the first performance of Hamlet and the last performance of Moliere, the actor. I was a friend to Oscar Wilde and an enemy to Leonardo…. I am both male and female. I am ageless, and I have no access to death.”
On April 15, 1912—ironically the very date on which more than a thousand people lost their lives as the Titanic sank—a figure known only as Pilgrim tries to commit suicide by hanging himself from a tree. When he is found five hours later, his heart miraculously begins beating again. This isn’t his first attempt to end his life, and it is decided that steps must be…[more]
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.