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Liliane's Balcony

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  17 reviews
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 alternate ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published October 7th 2013 by Rose Metal Press (first published October 6th 2013)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  85 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Parker has woven together a deep, introspective study of the ebb and flow of a complex love story, that moves within the historical frame of Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous architectural triumph, Fallingwater. Especially poignant and deftly drawn is the main character, Liliane, whose voice is the anchor to all the minor characters, including Frida Kahlo, that swirl around her. Interspersed with powerful, direct quotes from her husband and Wright.

One of the most beautifully designed books I've
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
I love that Kelcey Parker Ervick tells the story of the often overlooked Liliane Kaufmann in this heartbreaking but fascinating novella. It's too easy for history to forget the women who stood side-by-side with men as they lived extraordinary lives (or, for that matter, ordinary ones). I'm thankful that writers like Ervick are righting that wrong with books like this one. I also adore the different voices in this book—the daughter, Josiah, Janie, Amanda, Liliane, and Edgar being the standouts—an ...more
Ryan  Smith
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
In Liliane's Balcony Kelcey Parker continues in rich stride of her debut collection, For Sale by Owner, with a novella that is pristinely imagined and delicately constructed. This book manages the admirable ambition of balancing a mixture of history and liberties taken with it, taking an already compelling, emotionally complex story of domestic strife as one layered story among others. The cumulative effect feels enjoyably effortless, blending gestures both natural and meticulously constructed t ...more
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This hit me on so many levels and took me emotionally and mentally and nostalgically to places I rarely purposefully go. It got me. I cried. Heartbreak, heartache, disappointment and disenchantment find everyone - the rich and the regular - no matter where or how they live. The setting of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater serves well as the core of the story and the author does a superb job of delineating the features of the house while interweaving a story that deals with both the past and the ...more
John Vanderslice
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating book and a great example of how to tell an expansive story in a series of flashes. Liliane's Balcony travels over several decades and about ten characters. Each chapter is quite short, some as short as a few sentences, and yet a whole world is created. The core story is based on real life vents: the marriage of Liliane and Edgar J. Kauffman, who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a weekend house for them in rural Pennsylvania. (They ran a famously successful departme ...more
Kristin Czarnecki
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The dual-narrative of this novella-in-flash tells the story of present-day tourists visiting Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater house (built for Pittsburgh businessman E. J. Kaufmann and his wife, Liliane) along with Liliane's experience contending with her problematic marriage. Fact and fiction, past and present, and unforgettable characters intermingle in Ervick's unique and beautiful book.
Audrey Bauman
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The highest compliment I can pay this book: it makes me want to write.
Laura Zurowski
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I had the opportunity to see Kelcey Parker read sections of Liliane's Balcony at the Modern Formations Gallery in Pittsburgh earlier this year. That preview, combined with my first visit to Falingwater over the summer, was enough to pique my interest in this book - and I was not disappointed.

The story is reminiscent of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia in that the narrative contains two sets of characters, in two distinct time periods, but overlapping at the shared location of Fallingwater. The present day
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read for Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge - read a book published by a micropress.

Definitely recommended for folks who have visited Frank Lloyd Wright's famous house Fallingwater in PA.
Aug 07, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping for so much more so I could recommend this book to relatives who stay and ski near here and have brought me to both the Wright houses in the area. BUT- absolutely not! This is a story about a few people who are in one of the tour groups of the famous house. This book has their reactions as well as short glimpses of the Kauffman Pittsburgh department store wife. The Kauffman family and their servants spent weekends there after her husband planed the house with Wright. Stream of consc ...more
Melanie Page
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
A few key points to know about Parker's new novella: it's told in several different points of view; the sections are written as flash fiction; the center is Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural achievement, Fallingwater; the counterpart to the house is Liliane, the real-life first owner of Fallingwater who also overdosed and died there; and some sections are actual letters Liliane's husband Edgar Kaufmann wrote to her.

Read the rest of the review at Grab the Lapels
Lori G
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am always interested in the effect of buildings on people. Parker's book helps us to understand the feelings and reflections triggered by Fallingwater today as well as when it was built. The meaning of Fallingwater is evident for the Kaufman's as well as vistitors today. In addition this novella demonstrates Frank Lloyd Wright's ability to translate his interpretation of the Kaufman's, the setting, the drama, into a timeless masterpiece.
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This "novel-in-flash" is a beautiful demonstration of the power of hybridity. Fact/Fiction, Historical document/Figment of Imagination, Novel/Flash Fiction Story, etc. It never claims to inhabit the poetry genre, but the prose here is downright poetic, so add that to the list as well. A beautiful book overall (and beautifully published by Rose Metal Press to boot).
Carole Nahra
Apr 18, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Loving Frank by K. Horan about Frank Lloyd Wright, I was interested in reading more about his work. I chose Liliane's Balcony because it was set at Falling Waters, designed by Wright. The book was disjointed and uninteresting to downright boring. I learned nothing more about Wright. Not worth the short time it took to read.
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love how beautifully Parker interweaves the multiple narratives. I know very little about Fallingwater or Frank Lloyd Wright, but the way the novel is constructed gives me a sense of the home's architecture. Rooms turn to water and it is hard to tell the inside from the outside, just as people flow into structure, making it hard to separate characters from the space they inhabit.
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, sad, poetic, and unlike anything I've ever read. 5 stars for creativity. My recommendation: have this book handy and read while looking over at Fallingwater from the designated viewing area on the property.
Jan 05, 2014 added it
LOVED this book.
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Kelcey Parker Ervick is the author of The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová, a hybrid work of biography, memoir, and art. She is the author of two award-winning works of fiction: For Sale By Owner (Kore Press) and Liliane’s Balcony (Rose Metal Press), a novella set at Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. A recipient of grants from the Indiana Arts Commission and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, she teac ...more

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