This book was painful. Like, I-feel-like-my-heart-is-bleeding kinda painful. A good kinda painful, then. Naturally.
The Piper’s Son is the sequel/companion to Melina Marchetta’s Saving Francesca, and it picks up the characters’ lives five years down the track. This time, Tom Mackee is our main character, along with his aunt Georgie, as the book alternates between their viewpoints via third person narration. They, along with the rest of their family and friends, are trying to recover from some devastating losses in the past (both recent and distant).
With protagonists that are 22 and 42, The Piper’s Son feels a bit more grown up than Saving Francesca and Looking for Alibrandi, and the third person narrative also sets it apart. The writing is even more beautiful, if that’s at all possible. I liked being able to get into more than one character’s head, as well as seeing them from the outside. It gave the story a much wider scope than it perhaps would have had otherwise.
Now, I thought Saving Francesca was sad, but I have to say, it’s got nothing on The Piper’s Son. Tom and Georgie are both so lost in their grief and it’s such an emotional ride, made all the more potent by the extremely realistic characters, conversations, emotions and actions. As with Marchetta’s other books that I’ve read, I found myself nodding along to a character’s inner monologue more than once. I really felt their pain. And it was tough.
Thankfully, there are plenty of light moments to balance out the sadness. As Tom slowly reconnects with the old gang from St Sebastian’s, the friendly teasing comes back into play and you can’t help but smile. The interactions between the Mackee family are also tinged with humour, and there’s a lot of joy mixed in with their hurt. The best moments, though, come from Tara (who is in Timor) and Tom’s email exchanges. Though they're half a world apart (literally and emotionally), their spark is still there, waiting to be set alight. I just love all of these characters; they’re strong, unique, and well fleshed-out. I feel like I know them well… if only I had friends like these in real life!
Spoilery Talking Points
- I was sad at the lack of Jimmy in this book. He was one of my favourite characters in Saving Francesca. I need to know that he's OK.
- On the other hand, the suggestion that Frankie's parents are doing great is heartening.
- I also kinda missed Siobhan! She seemed to be doing well though. I was kinda glad they were all still friends. Well, except for the whole Tom kerfuffle - but he made good in the end.
- On an entirely superficial note, I really want to know what Will's tatt looks like.
The same as Saving Francesca, plus...
|Benedict Samuel as Tom|
|Claudia Karvan as Georgie|
|Emily Browning as Tara|
|Guy Pearce as Sam|
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Published: March 2010, Viking
Get It: Fishpond