Date of Publication: March 1, 2010
The award-winning author of Finnikin of the Rock and Jellicoe Road pens a raw, compelling novel about a family’s hard-won healing on the other side of trauma.
Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca - but five years have passed, and now it’s Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can’t forget. Shooting for oblivion, he’s hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom’s in no shape to mend what’s broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper’s Son redefines what it means to go home again.
The Piper's Son has no linear plot because it's a story of character. The book revolves around Tom dealing with his issues. Many of his issues have something to do with his family, and I was personally very surprised to see Tom's aunt Georgie also have a POV. I very rarely read from the adult perspective so it was all fascinating.
Anyway, this lack of plot has some issues because it's very easy to get lost in the story. This story isn't one that is impossible to put down. Combined with Melina Marchetta's unique writing style that I have always thought jumps around a little bit, the story isn't always clear. The reader is completely immersed into Tom's world with very little explanation so in the beginning it was hard to keep track of who is who.
The relationships are highlighted throughout the novel. They seem to be the basis of the story. Tom lost his uncle Joe, and his family completely fell apart. Tom also left in a sense and this book shows the family starting to heal. There are many issues to resolve. For example, Dominic, Tom's father, is an alcoholic and he left Tom alone at some point. Tom also has some unfinished business with Tara Finke, the girl he had a short of one night stand with. It's all very messy.
Georgie also has her share of issues. She's a compelling character just because she is so different. She is pregnant with Sam, the guy she broke up with seven years ago after he slept with another woman during their "break". Georgie is also grieving the loss of her younger brother, Joe. Family is so important to Georgie and she's not a typical character.
In fact, none of the characters are typical. They all feel intricate and complete. There isn't a clear, definite link between all the events that take place (not a cause and effect type of story). This can be interpreted as both a strength and weakness. A strength because of the resemblance of life, especially considering the little details present that make Tom's story a real one. A weakness because sometimes I'm not sure what's the point or where the story is going.
The Piper's Son felt very realistic what with the background and there were certain scenes that hit hard. All the same, I'm not sure what to make of this story. I like some plot and for me the ending was nice, but there wasn't much of a sense of completion.
I'm not sure if The Piper's Son is entertaining. It's not meant for light fun; I'm not sure what it is for exactly. It's the type of story maybe I'll chew on until, finally, it magically all makes sense. Hence, 3 stars.