The Weight of A Piano

The Weight of A Piano

Book - 2019
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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. . .
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780525654674
Branch Call Number: FIC CAND
Characteristics: 323 pages ; 22 cm


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Jun 01, 2020

I didn't expect to be so drawn into this book that I spent my entire Sunday reading it. The novel centers around a Bluthner piano that was built in 1905 Germany. In 1962 it is bequeathed to Katya, an 8-year-old Russian girl who masters the complex instrument mostly on her own. In 2012 the piano is now owned by Clara, a 26-year-old auto mechanic in Bakersfield, California. As the novel alternates between Katya's and Clara's stories, the reader learns each character's back story and their unusual connection across time and space. The reader also learns a lot about making a piano, Russian composers, and Death Valley National Park. The ultimate question in this book is -- Do our possessions own us, define us, or just hold us back?

ontherideau Jul 23, 2019

A rare piano, a love interest, a journey and lots of tangled emotion. I had to look up some of the music and listen along the way.

Apr 07, 2019

A solid and delightful story written in straightforward intent rather than twists and turns. The main narrative tells of history and people involved with a Bluthner piano and it's owners personal travails in relationships and historical period. Add to this a photographer on a road trip to create, through lovely geographical spots, a repeat of specific time meaningful to his mother. It's all wrapped up well and ends complete.

Nicr Feb 16, 2019

A Blüthner upright piano passes through various owners whose stories form the narrative and whose lives converge. An effective, well-written story that celebrates the power of music and the joy of letting go.

DCLadults Feb 13, 2019

A New & Noteworthy pick. A piano built in Russia links the stories of two women through time and across continents. An interesting choice for book groups.


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Jun 01, 2020

"Hidden in dense forests, high in the Romanian mountains, where the winters were especially cold and long, were spruce trees that would be made into pianos: exquisite instruments famous for the warmth of their tone and beloved by the likes of Schumann and Liszt. One man alone know how to choose them."


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