“There is love, there is music, there is no limit, there is work, there is the precious sense that this is the hour of grace when all things gather and distill to create the rest of my life.”–Kathleen Piper, Fall on Your Knees
- Here’s what happens:
- The story follows the Piper women and their odysseys through love, loss, and fulfillment. This is an epic, multigenerational saga that reminded me of One Hundred Years of Solitude in its unbelievable scope and tragic twists of fate, and Little Women in its focus on the complexities of sisterhood and young womanhood. Starting with the scorned elopement of young Materia Mahmoud and ambitious James Piper, the book chronicles the struggles and journeys of their four daughters: the talented opera singer and diva-to-be Kathleen, the pious and dutiful Mercedes, the wild and off-kilter Frances, and the innocent youngest Lily.
- It’s good because:
- For me, it was as unexpected and complicated as life itself–but of course, set against the backdrop of the early 1900’s on a disparate Canadian island, slightly more iconic and romantic than everyday life. I truly found myself wondering about the fate and mysteries of the Piper women–and more importantly, even sympathizing with the worst of them–up until the very last page.
- Read if:
- You like reading about the full scope of the human experience–even the dark, nitty gritty crannies that we often leave unexplored. MacDonald boldly and beautifully inspects less savory aspects of life like war, prostitution, racism, and suicide, while still managing to paint an intricate picture of the bonds of sisterhood, as well as the building, and sometimes the destruction, of family.
Up next: The Dominican Republic with Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao!