takes those obnoxious familial tics we suffer through for our loved ones and makes them complex and comfortable and achingly beautiful so that as we read we want these people - these people who know and love us well enough not to hide themselves with us - nearby so we can read bits and sentences and paragraphs aloud to them. Because of the connections: the connection between the reader and the story, between the reader and their own family, between each character in the novel they can identify in their life.
If pain and grief are the roots of this book, then the connections that Marcehetta's writing engenders, on the page and off, are the fruits of her writing.
The Piper's Son begins when the Finch-Mackees are at their lowest. Thomas has dropped out of University and is numbing his pain any way he can. His mother and sister have moved out of the state and his father, Dominic, has drunk himself into seclusion and his whereabouts are unknown. Sam, the father of Georgie's baby is also the man who devastated her some seven years ago when, during a short break in their relationship, he fathered a child with another woman. But, Sam is also the person who, without any discussion of it, steps back into Georgie's life when Joe is killed. The the only Finch-Mackee who is emotionally strong enough to go to London to bring home Joe's remains, Georgie is forced to return empty handed and shellshocked. Sam travels with her and helps Georgie through the process of dealing with Joe's death and the British authorities. Despite this, she cannot forgive him, leaving them in a sad and empty silence. Georgie is clinging so hard to life that she is no longer living it, just passing the days, trying not to see Sam with his son, Callum, unable to even admit that she is pregnant to her family or friends until well into her second trimester. Thomas, in his grief at the loss of his uncle, the abandonment of his father and the distance between him and his mother and younger sister, alienates himself even further when he turns his back on his friends and his deepening relationship with Tara Finke, leaving them feeling raw and wounded, but unwilling to abandon him. They know that Thomas will come back to them.