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The Weight of a Piano  By  cover art

The Weight of a Piano

By: Chris Cander
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
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Publisher's Summary

USA Today best seller

In 1962, in the Soviet Union, eight-year-old Katya is bequeathed what will become the love of her life: a Blüthner piano, on which she discovers an enriching passion for music. Yet after she marries, her husband insists the family emigrate to America - and loses her piano in the process.

In 2012, in Bakersfield, California, 26-year-old Clara Lundy is burdened by the last gift her father gave her before he and her mother died in a terrible house fire: a Blüthner upright she has never learned to play. Now a talented and independent auto mechanic, Clara’s career is put on hold when she breaks her hand trying to move the piano, and in sudden frustration she decides to sell it. Only in discovering the identity of the buyer - and the secret history of her piano - will Clara be set free to live the life of her choosing. 

©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 listeners say about The Weight of a Piano

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

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.

6 people found this helpful

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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

2 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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!!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

The Russian story: fascinating, absorbing, highly credible. The American story: none of the aforesaid.

I was drawn to this book by the title. I love the piano and piano music. And as other reviewers have said, the description of the construction of the instrument was fascinating. The elderly Jewish pianist who “disappeared” into the jaws of Soviet Russia, the little girl who was mesmerized by his music, the deprivation and fear imposed on her family by a cruel and unpredictable regime, all of these rang true. The escape to the west and to freedom was inevitable.

As soon as they touched down in California, however, the story degenerates into a series of implausible characters in soap opera predicaments. The narration, which was never more than adequate to begin with, becomes downright annoying. The narrator portrays men with a thin, nasal, and somewhat sarcastic whine. Most men are bad, most women are good.

The ending in downright predictable and downright preposterous.

This is an easy book which would appeal to romantics who like pianos. I would not call it literature.

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Great story!

I’m so glad I read this book. What a great story! I would recommend this to friends and family.