This CD/audiobook, read by the author in a warm and relaxed tone, takes the listener right into the heart of the book. The music of the spoken word reinforces the music which ties the book together, and emphasizes the "hope, solace, and healing" of the totality.
As others have said about the book:
In this moving series of poems, which reads like a novel, Jonathan Gillman depicts his father’s drift into dementia, the strong feelings his father evoked in his family, the author’s often turbulent relationship with him, and their gradual acceptance of each other.
William O'Daly, noted poet and translator, said: "My Father, Humming" is an inspiring, heartbreaking, and hopeful work--in its tone, imagery, recurring themes, and pacing--moving in the way blood moves through the body. The poems enact a fascinating tension between melody and gradual dying, and in the beautiful, almost serene final section arrive at an awareness of what cannot be resolved but only lived as fully as possible.
And Jonathan himself writes:
My father was trained as a classical pianist—he had a certificate from Juilliard. He was also a well-known mathematician, and had a brilliant mind. By the time he died, a few years ago, with Alzheimer’s, little remained of the person he had been.
I started writing these poems in the last year of my father’s life. I wrote them, not as a tribute to him, but to help me make the most of our relationship in the little time we had left. I also wrote them to try to make sense of what was happening to him, and, as language failed him more and more, to find other ways to communicate with him. Touch was one. Music was another. And when he hummed along with me as I played his piano, it was clear—even though so much of who he had been was gone—that he could still “make music”, and, for the first time, make it with me.
It wasn’t until even later, as I started putting the book together, that I realized: the story was coming through me, but it isn’t just about me and him; it’s about everyone.
In the end, My Father, Humming is a tribute—it’s a tribute to what it means to be a child; what it means to be a parent; what it means to be a human being.