Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Joyner's Dream

Everyone who knows me also knows how much I love reading. From the time I lost myself in my first read-alone book around the age of 8, I have been addicted to the escapism offered by fiction, to the fun of investigation and new information of non-fiction and the voyeurism of biography.

I recently read Joyner's Dream, a wonderful novel by Sylvia Tyson, of Ian and Sylvia fame from the 60's and more recently, 1/4 of Quartette. Tyson has written a multi-generational saga about a family in England/Canada that I found completely captivating. On one hand, I couldn't put the book down, and on the other hand, didn't want the story to end.

Common threads run through 8 generations of the family: a love of music (evolving from folk to modern, a mini-history in itself), a violin, a secret journal, impressive dexterity, leading to some nefarious activities and manic depression. The story is told through the journal entries of one person from each generation.

Some of the reviews I've read complain that the book is too long (!!) and that there are too many characters which are hard to keep straight. But I enjoyed looking at the family tree to see how old a person was when such-and-such happened and also backtracking in the narrative to remind myself who was who.

As we already know from the many songs she has penned through the years, Tyson has a wonderful way with words. In Joyner's Dream she has woven a compelling story, rich in details,  among events of world history. I hope that others will enjoy it as much as I did. In addition, Tyson has recorded Joyner's Dream: The Kingsfold Suitesongs enjoyed by the characters throughout the book. It is available here as an MP3 download. And here's a short video of Sylvia Tyson talking about her book and the music.