The Organist grandstands in the news
Each of us walks the world in camouflage. Each of us can be a mystery to ourselves, never mind other people. I’m sure I baffled my father just as he baffled me. He died more than two decades ago, and as the natural, necessary process of forgetting takes hold, any picture I draw of him becomes an exercise in self–portraiture. There are some things I can’t forget. But there’s much I struggle to remember. The work compels me to blend my own features with his. – from The Organist: Fugues, Fatherhood, and a Fragile Mind, by Mark Abley (read a full excerpt in The Walrus)
Fearless and moving, Mark Abley’s The Organist: Fugues, Fatherhood, and a Fragile Mind captures the author’s complex relationship with his father, a British emigrant and brilliant musician, who also suffered from depression.
Questioning the veracity and completeness of his own memories, Abley hits a deeper note. As writer David Mcfarlane puts it, “[Abley] ventures bravely into territory that is, for almost everyone, mysterious: what our parents were like before we, their children, became (so we like to imagine) central to their lives. What this compelling book makes clear is that what we don’t know about them is often what we don’t know about ourselves.”
In the news this week:
An excerpt in The Walrus is a Longreads Editor's Pick!
“A memoir that probes the intimate relationship between depression and the arts.” The Globe and Mail
“The Organist’s intimate scale and unstinting, probing honesty give it what should prove to be…lasting appeal.” Maclean’s
“[A] remarkably transparent record of a writer’s lifelong efforts to understand and love his male parent.” Literary Review of Canada
“A very beautifully written and deeply moving book.” Shauna Powers, CBC Sask
To hear some sound clips of Harry Abley at the organ, visit Mark Abley’s author page.