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The Weight of a Piano

A novel
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
4 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For fans of Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, Annie Proulx's Accordion Crimes, and 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, 26-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 12th 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...

©2019 Chris Cander (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Deftly plotted and well written, a gentle meditation on the healing power of art - and its limitations.... Cander grabs the reader in her bravura, thickly detailed opening pages [and] expertly parcels out her revelations [as] she builds parallel narratives [toward] an odd but beautiful finale." (Kirkus Reviews, starred)

“Elegiac and evocative.... Cander brilliantly and convincingly expresses music and visual art in her writing, capturing both within a near-alien but surprisingly stunning landscape.” (Publishers Weekly “Books of the Week”) 

“Immense, intense, and imaginative.... The Weight of a Piano is about memory and identity.... Cander is a smart, deft storyteller [and] understands how something as beloved as a piano can actually be a burden.” (James Barron, The New York Times Book Review)

 “Lyrical...intricate...an intriguing, serendipitous story [that offers] readers access to unique experiences.” (Carol Memmott, The Washington Post)

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Didnt like narration

The narrator has an odd accent and sort of breathy and mournful way of reading
the book itself was good - interesting and creative

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Sadly, for me it was just "Eh"

This book started out so promising. My major qualms with a storyline itself all contain spoilers so I will keep those details to myself. Katya's story was very interesting, and I felt emotionally invested in her life and happiness. I would like to have read more about her. Once they left Russia I feel like the book lost my attention. Carla (the modern day character) was difficult for me to like. She and I would be the same age in real life and I have to say that I couldn't relate to her at all. Chapters where she was featured heavily (which is half of the book) I had a hard time getting through and couldn't wait for them to end. As another review already stated: Greg got really creepy really fast! And I wholeheartedly agree. Bottom line, for me, the past storyline was intriguing and fully held my attention. The present one however was lacking and I found the modern main characters both annoying and hard to relate to.

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The Key to Enjoying this Book

As a professional musician for more than sixty years, I was fascinated by the description of how this piano was made; from the picking of a certain tree all the way to completion. It took a while for me to understand there were two stories told--every other chapter, and I had to really concentrate while listening. I'm a speed reader and had this been a paper book I might have skipped over too many pages so I'm glad I bought the Audible edition. Cassandra Campbellas' voicing of characters was excellent and I was spellbound from beginning to end. Having moved my piano from house to house and up and down stairs certainly brought back some memories.

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Music and silence, and so much more...

Riveting and expertly woven tale of a piano and the lives it changes. MUST READ!!