The Weight of a Piano: Book summary and reviews of The Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander

The Weight of a Piano

by Chris Cander

The Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander X
The Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander
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Book Summary

A tour-de-force about two women and the piano that inexorably ties their lives together through time and across continents, for better and for worse.

In 1962, in the Soviet Union, eight-year-old Katya is bequeathed what will become the love of her life: a Blüthner piano, built at the turn of the century in Germany, on which she discovers everything that she herself can do with music and what music, in turn, does for her. Yet after marrying, she emigrates with her young family from Russia to America, at her husband's frantic insistence, and her piano is lost in the shuffle.

In 2012, in Bakersfield, California, twenty-six-year-old Clara Lundy loses another boyfriend and again has to find a new apartment, which is complicated by the gift her father had given her for her twelfth birthday, shortly before he and her mother died in a fire that burned their house down: a Blüthner upright she has never learned to play. Orphaned, she was raised by her aunt and uncle, who in his car-repair shop trained her to become a first-rate mechanic, much to the surprise of her subsequent customers. But this work, her true mainstay in a scattered life, is put on hold when her hand gets broken while the piano's being moved - and in sudden frustration she chooses to sell it. And what becomes crucial is who the most interested party turns out to be...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Deftly plotted and well written, a gentle meditation on the healing power of art - and its limitations." - Kirkus

"From award-winning author Cander (Whisper Hollow), this beautiful tale of the intersecting stories of Katya and Clara, two strong women working hard to rebuild their shattered lives, is impossible to put down and impossible to forget." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Cander brilliantly and convincingly expresses music and visual art in her writing, capturing both within a near-alien but surprisingly stunning landscape." - Publishers Weekly

"Strong characterization and attention to detail, whether in the manufacture of a piano or in the desolate beauty of Death Valley, elevate Cander's (Whisper Hollow, 2015) tale about learning to let go of the past." - Booklist

This information about The Weight of a Piano was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

MAW

Really enjoyed
I really enjoyed this book. The author ties together the stories yet also adds nuances that keep the reader engaged even though some of the connections are predictable.

Roberta

Good but falls short
I wanted to like this book more than I did, so my feelings about it are mixed. 3.5 would be my ideal rating.

I have always wished that antiques (in this case a piano) could talk and tell us their history---where they have lived, who owned them and what they witnessed.

It is 1962 and Katya lives in Russia and is given a Blüthner piano. She becomes a gifted pianist, but when her abusive husband insists that they move to America to better their lives, she is forced to give up her beloved piano.

Fast forward to 2012. Clara lives in California and works as a talented auto mechanic (I never could figure out why the author made her an auto mechanic). Her father gave her the Blüthner for her twelfth birthday. Shortly thereafter her parents die in a house fire. Clara's current relationship is coming to an end and she decides she needs to sell the piano.

It is after this that the stories start to converge and we learn the connections between the characters and the piano.

The narrative alternates back in forth by chapter and by character. (I'm getting really tired of this method of story-telling, but so many authors seem to adopt this technique these days.)The story felt forced and implausible at times and why do authors feel they need to throw in a sex scene or two? (I'm tired of that too.)

There were times when the book was a bit of a thriller and I would get hooked into thinking that it was going to be a page-turner, but that never happened.

Clara was not a terribly likable character and is perhaps one of the reasons the book fell short for me.

And finally I hated the ending.

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Author Information

Chris Cander

Chris Cander graduated from the Honors College at the University of Houston, in the city where she was raised and still lives, with her husband, daughter, and son. For seven years she has been a writer-in-residence for Writers in the Schools there. She serves on the Inprint advisory board and stewards several Little Free Libraries in her community. Her first novel, 11 Stories, won the Independent Publisher Gold Medal for Popular Fiction, and her most recent, Whisper Hollow, was long-listed for the Great Santini Fiction Prize by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. She is also the author of The Word Burglar, which won the 2014 Moonbeam Children's Book Award (silver).

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