The Weight of a Piano: A novel
In the Soviet Union in 1962, young Katya loves the sound of the Blüthner piano as it rises from her neighbor’s apartment; Katya is surprised that the curmudgeonly old man leaves the piano to her upon his death, which sparks her obsession with not only the music but the piano itself. While studying in Leningrad, Katya puts her career on hold when she marries Mikhail and has a baby. As the family experiences hardship, Katya unwillingly follows Mikhail to California, fearing she will never see her beloved piano again. In 2012, Clara loves her Blüthner piano, the last gift she received from her father before both of her parents died in a house fire. After breaking her wrist moving the piano into her new apartment, Clara impulsively lists the piano for sale, but ultimately she struggles with breaking free from her attachment.
With expert timing, Cander reveals the connection between Katya and Clara, telling both of their stories in alternating chapters. Katya’s storyline is full of emotional moments that will speak to the reader’s heart; unfortunately, Clara’s storyline is a bit humdrum. Cander describes music and place with gorgeous prose. However, the opening passage, which tells how the piano was crafted, offers the most luscious writing in the novel. The Weight of a Piano is a touching exploration of the unrelenting hold sentimental objects can have.
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