The Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander

The Weight of a Piano

Chris Cander

Katya loses her piano during her emigration from Russia to the US. Yet fifty years later, Clara Lundy chooses to sell a piano her father had given her. And the interested party presents a surprising turn of events.

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For fans of Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, Annie Proulx's Accordion Crimes, Amanda Coplin's The Orchardist

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. . .


Advance Galley Reviews

The Weight of a Piano is carefully tuned literary fiction. It finds the perfect moment to tug at all the right emotions, leaving you in a reverent, contemplative silence by the end. Each chapter switches back and forth between the POVs of Carla, the current owner of the piano, and Katya, the former owner. Carla is a young mechanic who lost her parents in a tragic fire; the piano being the only physical object that remains of the fond times with her family. Katya is a Russian immigrant who was obligated to leave her beloved piano in Europe when she left to seek refuge in the United States. The piano is a metaphor for both of their lives, a placeholder for both of their souls and essences. Eventually, and for reasons that she can’t quite articulate, Carla finds herself on a road trip across the desert, trailing behind the moving truck that carries her piano for the photographer she lent it to. This book is absolutely lovely, gripping and poetic. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re the kind of person who enjoys self-reflective indie movies about cathartic road trips. I would recommend this to (see above), as a beach/travel read, or to people who enjoy a little romance in novels but don’t want to read from the romance section.

Thanks to FTR and publishers for an ARC of the book. I thought this would be a 'weighty' book, pun intended. Having recently finished a russian cold war era book I had similar expectations of this one. But this is, at the heart of it, a love story and a woman called Clara trying to understand her past, to come to terms with her present. So read it as a romance and you wont be dissapointed. This book starts well, with descriptions of Piano making. Its an easy read with varying emotions and some cliffhangers. I liked the story of Katya more than Clara, which had more passion. Clara's decision to follow men across the state renting her Piano seemed impractical to me, but literary license right? I didnt love this book, but read it in one sitting so it is definitely gripping enough. One piano tied these two families across generations and the closure seemed befitting to me. An epilogue about Clara would have been even better ending to the book. rating- 3 stars.

 


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