Short Curator

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Short Read No. 3

From LILIANE’S BALCONY: A NOVELLA OF FALLINGWATER by Kelcey Parker

Liliane strains to hear the falling water. She closes her eyes to open her ears to hear the water falling, for that is the point of the house, the architect had explained, to live with the waterfall. It was too plain merely to see the waterfall. One had to live with it, hear its voice, feel its pulse. But Liliane, in her bed, in early September, with the terrace door open despite the threat and scream of late summer insects, cannot. She opens her ears wider but no waterfall. Insects. Ting ting of dishes downstairs. No waterfall.

The above excerpt is the beginning of LILIANE’S BALCONY: A NOVELLA OF FALLINGWATER  (Rose Metal Press, 2013).

WHY READ IT? If Kelcey Parker had only done a fine job conveying her extensive research about the lore of Fallingwater and the Kaufmann family, then this still would have been an interesting book. But the story that emerges transcends the details of mere history or biography and is beautifully suggestive about how humans have the courage or foolhardiness to plan —and how life thwarts our plans. Told in the interwoven voices of those who have come to Fallingwater for different reasons and with different burdens, the story springs off of its underlying historical research and hums with vitality and movement.  The author’s abundant research into Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision and achievement in Fallingwater provides palpable structure to the story, but to Parker’s credit that factual horizon opens up the possibilities of this tale of love with its wild rewards and disappointments, rather than damming them. Caveat: the story gently climbs to a satisfying conclusion, but those expecting a huge revelation at the end or some upheaving culmination will likely be frustrated. But LILIANE’S BALCONY, like Fallingwater itself, suggests that you can build beautifully and harmoniously without necessarily building way up.

To plan a visit to Fallingwater, see www.fallingwater.org