If you have been following this blog religiously, as I expect you have, then you will know that I wasn't terribly taken with my first foray into Timothy Findley territory. Well, you'll be happy to know the situation is remedied. I recently read The Piano Man's Daughter, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say I ate it whole. I was enchanted, charmed, entranced, fascinated, bewitched, seduced, tantalized, and overwhelmed by this novel. No hyperbole seems to be enough to describe the emotions this book roused in me.
It is the story of Lily told through the eyes of her son. Lily, a mentally disturbed yet captivating woman, unique in her ability to inspire loyal love, embarassed duty, or a mixture of both, in those closest to her. The dichotomy of her childhood marked her forever; some of it spent in the quiet, loving cocoon of the ancestral farm, and some of it spent in the stultifying showcase home of her stepfather, hidden away from the eyes of "polite society". One of her "spells" leads to the birth of her son Charlie, born to illegitamacy as she herself was, from a liaison of which she has no memory. And as Charlie tries to piece together his mother's life, he is forced to bridge the gaps with guesswork, coming against secrecy and silence.
Perhaps my expectations were lowered, but I could not put this book down. And although I was eager to discover all the novel's secrets, I was dismayed when I realised I was approaching the conclusion. That, as much as anything, is the mark of a great book.