Books·Canadian

The Maestro

Tim Wynne-Jones' novel won the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature in 1995.

Tim Wynne-Jones

Burl Crow's dad is a master manipulator with a temper. He's beaten up Burl's mom for years, and she's a shadow of her former self, relying on medication to get her through each day. Burl's life starts looking up when he meets Nathaniel Orlando Gow — a.k.a. the Maestro. But at what cost? The Maestro won the 1995 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature. 

The Maestro is for readers ages 10 and up.

From the book

The sound grew nearer, a throbbing that drowned out the whir of dragonflies, the chattering of squirrels, the squawking of blue jays. It was not a train. The CPR line passed this way, but no train had ever saved Burl Crow from a beating.

A helicopter. It appeared over the ridge of spruce trees southeast of where Burl stood in his father's grasp. It was a twin rotor, flying low, carrying something large suspended by a long cable.

The boy and the man looked up into the sun as the great noisy chopper approached, a silhouette coming straight for them.

Burl had never seen a grand piano, but he knew that's what was hanging from the cable. Its shadow passed over him before it did. Then for one solitary instance it was suspended above him, blocking out the sun. A black hole in the blue sky. He could see the big bones of its undercarriage, its three solid legs and a flashing glimmer of its varnished, curvy side.

"Don't you tell no one about this," shouted his father. "Ya hear?"

Burl's head shook violently — he heard, all right — but his eyes never left the chopper.


From The Maestro by Tim Wynne-Jones ©1996. Published by Orchard Books.