Books – Kitchen Music

Kitchen Music
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A Toronto couple travel to Ireland for an extended holiday in a remote fishing village. Pat Keane is the Canadian son of a famous local, a musician whose tragic death still reverberates throughout the community. Hia Thi Loi, his lover, is the Vietnamese daughter of a woman lost to her country’s tormented past. Each has an obsession. His is reluctant: to learn more of his father, and himself, through the music that is his inheritance. Hers is ardent: to seek wholeness, even forgiveness, through the drawing of ruined Cambodian temples.

Though set mainly in the village where the people who knew and revered a troubled fiddler still live, having waited three decades to tell their story to his son, the narrative arcs back to the 1950s, both in Canada and in Ireland, and to Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, when desperate people took to the South China Sea.

About displacement—the dilemmas inherent when individuals shift worlds—the novel exists in two worlds, changing perspectives between the old and the new, challenging characters to see patterns, then to break them. A novel about the force of love, Kitchen Music is also about renewal in the wake of tragedy.


  • Smithbooks’ Books in Canada First Novel Award (finalist)

Publication details

Originally published in 1994 by Cormorant Books Inc.

337 pages

ISBN: 0920953735

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