The Weight of a Piano

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Coming January 2019 from Knopf.

Also from: HarperCollins (Germany), Editions Christian Bourgois (France), Nord (Italy), Salamandra (Spain), Versus (Brazil), Czarna Owca Publishing House (Poland), Xiron (China), Marco Polo (Taiwan) 

THE WEIGHT OF A PIANO follows the interweaving stories of two women—a Soviet concert pianist and a young mechanic in California—and their shared, devastating connection to the same Blüthner piano, its tragic history, and to each other.

In post-WW2 Russia, young pianist Katya Zeldin receives what will become her most prized possession: a Blüthner piano. The piano is the most constant presence of her short life, accompanying her as she marries, flees Russia with her husband and young son as Soviet Refusniks, and re-settles in Los Angeles. In modern day, Clara Lundy struggles to let go of the same Blüthner, which she’s been dragging around with her since her father gifted it to her for her 12th birthday, just before his sudden and unexplained death.

Using music and creative passion to illustrate how one object can become the focal point of a lifelong struggle, THE WEIGHT OF A PIANO is ultimately about how we reconcile the present with the past, and how to do so we must sometimes let go of our idealized sense of both.

About THE WEIGHT OF A PIANO, Charles Baxter, author of THERE’S SOMETHING I WANT YOU TO DO, says:

Like Werner Herzog’s FITZCARRALDO, Chris Cander’s THE WEIGHT OF A PIANO is a visionary novel about the madness inherent in all art and the burdens of history that give rise to art and must be carried in turn. The miracle of wonderful fiction is to place wondrous objects where we would never expect to find them–to make the unexpected both palpable and real–and this beautiful, intricate novel gives us one indelible picture after another, each one written in a different key.

Photo by Clayton Austin from the “Hammers & Strings” collection used with permission.