Synopsis (from Amazon):
at Sagamore was closed when we got there that summer of 1956. We had to cross
the canal at Buzzards Bay over the only other roadway that tethered Cape Cod to
Thus twelve-year-old Lily Grainger, while
safe from ‘communists and the Pope,’ finds her family suddenly adrift. That was
the summer the Andrea Doria sank, pilot whales stranded, and Lily’s father
built a house he couldn't afford. Target practice on a nearby decommissioned
Liberty Ship echoed not only the rancor in her parents' marriage, a rancor
stoked by Lily’s competitive uncle, but also Lily’s troubles with her sister,
her cousins, and especially with her mother. In her increasingly desperate
efforts to salvage her parents' marriage, Lily discovers betrayals beyond her
understanding as well as the small ways in which people try to rescue each
other. She draws on her music lessons and her love of Cape Cod—from Sagamore
and Monomoy to Nauset Spit and the Wellfleet Dunes, seeking safe passage from
the limited world of her salt marsh to the larger, open ocean.
Marcia Peck Interview: WATER MUSIC: A Cape Cod Story
was the hardest character to write? The easiest?
Hardest character to write was Lily’s mother.
To understand her, I had to place myself in the shoes of a talented, smart,
isolated mother of two daughters in the 1950’s who longed to find meaning in
Easiest was Uncle George, the blow-hard.
your book you make a reference to the sinking of the Andrea Doria....how did
you come up with this idea? What made you write a book about...?
The sinking of that brand new, sleek ocean
liner has always fascinated me. And when I learned that the Ile de France
turned around, 40 miles out to sea to come to the princess ship’s aid and saved
countless lives, I saw a parallel between the young ocean liner (Lily) and the
older, reliable Ile de France (the steady mother Lily longed to have.)
do you get inspiration for your stories?
My stories grow from my own fictionalized
experience, those people or situations that nag at me. The “what-ifs”.
are many books out there about complicated family dynamics...What makes yours
The difficulties Lily’s family grapple with
are not only grounded in their own history, but are very much echoed in the
landscape they inhabit. They are nourished by the bounty of the sea and salt
air, but also threatened by storms and a changeable, often indifferent
advice would you give budding writers?
And write! It sounds foolishly
obvious. But when we read what we love, we ingest those elements that make the
writing work. And when we get something down on the page, it starts to tell us
what comes next.
book is set in Cape Cod. Have you ever been there?
My family spent our summers on Cape Cod all
through my childhood and adolescence, and I’ve felt spiritually bonded to that
remarkable bit of land and sea all my life.
you have another profession besides writing?
I’m a cellist with a symphony orchestra. For
me, that has been a perfect combination. In WATER MUSIC I kept thinking about
the little motifs that recur in Wagner or Rachmaninoff, those little echoes
that invisibly tie a work together.
Photo by Joel Larson
Marcia Peck’s writing has received a variety of
awards, including New Millenium Writings (First prize for “Memento Mori”) and
Lake Superior Writers’ Conference (First Prize for “Pride and Humility”). Her
articles have appeared in Musical
America, Strad Magazine, Strings Magazine, Senza Sordino, and the op-ed
pages of the Minneapolis StarTribune. Marcia’s fiction has appeared in Chautauqua Journal, New Millenium Writings,
Gemini Magazine, and Glimmer Train,
Growing up in New Jersey
with parents who were both musicians, Marcia set out to be the best cellist she
could be. She spent two years studying in Germany in the Master Class of the
renowned Italian cellist, Antonio Janigro. Since then she has spent her musical
career with the Minnesota Orchestra, where she met and married the handsome
fourth horn player.
Marcia has always been a
cat person. But she has learned to love dogs—even the naughty ones, maybe
especially the naughty ones.
“What happens when a writer plays cello in a
professional orchestra for her entire career? Her prose soars. In Water Music,
Marcia Peck traces one intricate, intimate melody through the symphonic
complexity of a disintegrating family’s summer on Cape Cod. Music and love are
interchangeable. Here is a book worthy of reading aloud—and cherishing.”
Jarrett Andrew, author of Swinging on the
“Peck has written a moving and melodic triumph
of imagination and story, a fine harmony of intimacies and passions.”
Helget, author of The Summer of Ordinary
Ways, The Turtle Catcher, Stillwater
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