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The Piano Man's Daughter (1995)

by Timothy Findley

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563733,479 (3.88)65
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)
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» See also 65 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
My husband picked up this freebie at a library conference at Jasper Park Lodge so I read it partly to read something of Findley's who was a Canadian author and as thanks to my husband for being so thoughtful. The book was a chore to read and will not be kept. It'll be dropped on the library give away table tomorrow. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
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! :) ( )
  LDVoorberg | Apr 7, 2013 |
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. ( )
  NeedMoreShelves | Sep 16, 2012 |
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.
  iayork | Aug 9, 2009 |
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. ( )
  quixotic-creator | May 27, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
It is their fate to be isolated and thus original. Oliver Sacks
Dedication
For Margaret Gibson and for my cousin Isobelle Guthrie, in memory of my Aunt Ruth
First words
I had seen her just the day before—a day of pale blue skies and summer breezes.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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