The Piano Man's Daughter

Timothy Findley, Author Crown Publishing Group (NY) $26 (480p) ISBN 978-0-517-70307-6
In the genus Novelist, there are several subspecies, including writer, teacher and storyteller. Findley is a storyteller. Winner of numerous honors (including Canada's Governor General's Award for Fiction, for The Wars), he is no spinner of wonderful words but, rather, an extraordinarily gifted teller of tales. As in his several other novels (most recently, Headhunter), here he imagines very particular, not at all common, folk. The focus is on Lily, who spends most of her brief life around the turn of the century touched by a hybrid of epilepsy, insanity and grace. Lily is conceived upon the first and only meeting of her mother, Ede, with an angelic traveling piano salesman named Tom; though fully intending to marry Ede, he dies ""in a sea of horses"" months before Lily's birth. Within a few years, Ede marries Tom's older brother and transforms into a proper, run-of-the-mill urban matriarch. Before long, Lily's condition is discovered. She is first locked in the attic whenever guests arrive, then sent off to a school for ""different"" girls--but not before she falls for a reasonable facsimile of her father, a Cinderella-like boy/man, nicknamed Lizzie, who is the much younger brother of Lily's father. Before the novel's end, Lizzie dies as well, as does another Tom, raising the only real problem in this otherwise wholly involving work: that the good too predictably die young. By way of extremely close interior perambulations through his characters in the mind and voice of Lily's son, Charlie, Findley views the image of the general through the lens of the particular, offering everything a reader could want from a vaguely romantic multigenerational saga. Film rights to Whoopi Goldberg. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1996
Release date: 05/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 1 pages - 978-0-86492-201-4
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-06-093643-3
Hardcover - 461 pages - 978-0-00-224379-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 1 pages - 978-0-86492-203-8
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