A year after concert pianist Dominic Amoruso’s mysterious disappearance during a private recital in Toronto, his friend, the journalist Joe Serafina, receives a package of Dom’s tapes and notebooks from a place called Wolf Cove on Baffin Island. By transcribing the tapes and matching them with entries in the notebooks, Joe slowly pieces together the story of what happened to his friend.
Dom has grown up in the deep shadow of Glenn Gould – and in the shadow of expectations that he carry on Gould’s heritage. It is a heavy load, one he struggles and argues with constantly, challenging Gould’s decisions even as his own identity as a musician disintegrates. Freely popping a variety of pills to ward off migraines and other, more existential pains, Dom confides only in his tape recorder. When Joe starts nosing around, he finds that Dom’s friends, such as the music store owner Buddy Keane, the photographer Carol Paterson, and his lover, Claire Weller, are either as perplexed as he is by Dom’s sudden disappearance or annoyed by the journalist’s interest.
Fiorito has woven his novel from the separate strands of Dom’s tapes and notebooks and from Joe’s investigation into the pianist’s story. Brilliantly conceived and expressed, and with an exquisite sense of place, the story takes us from downtown Toronto’s Vietnamese restaurants and homeless shelters to seal-skinning contests on Baffin Island. The Song Beneath the Ice is a dazzling novel of extraordinary ambition and accomplishment.
Joe Fiorito is the author of Comfort Me With Apples, first published in 1994, and Tango on the Main (1996), a selection of his city columns from the Montreal Gazette. His family memoir, The Closer We Are to Dying, published in 1999, was a national best-seller and earned the author further critical acclaim. Guy Vanderhaeghe called it “a remarkable memoir, perhaps the finest by a Canadian writer since John Glassco’s Memoirs of Montparnasse appeared in 1970.” Fiorito lives in Toronto and writes for the Toronto Star.
“Fiorito expertly captures the cultural ferment of 1990s Toronto.”
–Globe and Mail
“Note perfect. Intelligent from its intriguing first notes to its enigmatic conclusion.”
“In this complex novel saturated with sound, barely a false note is sounded.”
From the Hardcover edition.