There is Tom -- the uni drop-out who spends his time pining for the girl whose heart he broke so many winters ago. Drowning in regret, he finds solace in escape, just as his alcoholic father blots out the world when life becomes too much to handle. And then there is Tom's Aunt Georgie, confused and yearning for understanding after that one little event that fractured her life, even though the one person who can mend her is the one who broke her in the first place.
This is the story of the rediscovery of hope, as bits and pieces of Tom and Georgie's lives continue to chip off and crumble in front of their weary eyes. This is where the healing begins.
I would never have given this book a second glance if shown its American cover: A boy guitarist in a striped shirt? Come on - How much more unoriginal can you get? However, I've had the luck to read a few of the brilliant Melina Marchetta's works before and have thoroughly enjoyed every single one. To say that I was excited to start The Piper's Son would be the understatement of the century.
Who would have thought that Marchetta could take something that resembled a cheesy Asian drama in character and plot and portray it as something so raw and real? You have your heart-broken protagonist with the messed-up family and the unrequited love and an adult counterpart with a marriage ripped apart by an affair. As usual, angst is always present, snaking its way through the story and leaving slimy trails of betrayal in its wake. It takes talent to write cliche into something of beauty and sadness and growth and forgiveness. Even though this book is as far from the fantasy genre as you can get, The Piper's Son was magical. Yes, realistic novels can be magical, too.
And despite the almost depressing feel of the synopsis, there is also an abundance of humor - puns, sarcasm, and witty remarks about random things such as a certain grandfather's bum in super short jogging shorts and the mortification that accompanies said shorts during morning jogs around the neighborhood.
A sort-of sequel of Saving Francesca but with a side character as the main one instead, The Piper's Son is one of those rare books that deserves a re-read. Even the second time will be as engrossing as the first.
Profanity and sexual content.
Reviewer City, State and Country: Palo Alto, CA US