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Cover for Liliane's Balcony

Liliane's Balcony

A Novella of Fallingwater

Kelcey Parker Ervick


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Fiction. LILIANE'S BALCONY is a multi-voiced novella-in-flash set at Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. Built for Pittsburgh merchants E.J. and Liliane Kaufmann in 1935, the house is as much a character as it is a setting. One September night in 1952, Liliane Kaufmann--tired of her husband's infidelities--overdoses on pain pills in her bedroom. From there, LILIANE'S BALCONY alternates Mrs. Kaufmann's mostly true story with the fictional narratives of four modern-day tourists who arrive at the historic home in the midst of their own personal crises, all of which culminate on Mrs. Kaufmann's over-sized, cantilevered balcony. With its ghosts, motorcycles, portraits, Vikings, failed relationships, and many layered voices, Kelcey Parker's LILIANE'S BALCONY is as dizzying and intricately beautiful as the architectural wonder in which it is set.

LILIANE'S BALCONY is as layered and audacious as the house at the center of the novella. Parker dances effortlessly between present and past, fact and fiction, nature and interior, lovers and out-of-lovers. The story that emerges is moving and precariously beautiful: a book that in lesser hands might have come toppling down. In Parker's, it's a triumph.--Caitlin Horrocks

The latest from Parker is an inventive novella hybrid, a mix of prose and poetry, past and present, heartbreak and humor. At the core is Liliane Kaufmann, the wife and first cousin of the philandering Edgar Kaufmann, who commissioned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to create the audacious Fallingwater, a Pennsylvania house built over a waterfall. Rippling out from the couple is a cast of characters spanning centuries. Without introduction or background, a different voice narrates each chapter as the iconic home itself becomes a central character. Interspersing fiction with fact (although fact outweighs fiction in this well-researched story), Parker reveals the tragic life of strong, intelligent Liliane, who is slowly eroded by a complicated marriage gone toxic. Adding dimension to her portrayal are three other women, all at different points of self-discovery, all potentially bound for a similar fate as Liliane. Not unlike Fallingwater's structure, which masterfully balances the man-made with the natural, Parker sculpts and controls myriad, nearly unwieldy elements to construct a driven plot that illuminates the perched house and those who live within it.--Katherine Fronk, Booklist

Rose Metal Press, 9780988764538, 216pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2013