Compelling tale of a piano and the two women who loved it


The Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander

Book Review:  4 out of 5 star rating

In 1962, 8-year-old Russian Katya receives a piano, which is bequeathed to her by her elderly neighbor, who recognizes the music in Katya.  The piano is a German Bluthner. Katya becomes a gifted pianist and she brings the best out of the piano.  But her piano is lost to her when her husband decides to leave Russia with high hopes of starting a new life in America with Katya and their son.

In 2012, Clara is torn about whether she should sell her Bluthner piano, which was given to her by her beloved father as an early 12th birthday present.  She never learned to play it and has had to have it moved every time one of her relationships ends.  But the piano is special to her since her father gave it to her shortly before he and her mother died in a fire.  When she impulsively decides the piano must go, the buyer brings a connection with the piano that completely takes Clara off guard and brings her on a unique road trip through Death Valley.

I loved how this book begins with the building of this particular piano.  The details in this chapter are fascinating, from the slow choosing of the right tree to the long drying out of the wood to the final building of the exquisite piano in a factory in Leipzig.  It made the piano come alive in my mind and immediately built a connection with it.  In alternating chapters, the author introduces the two women who have such a love for this piano – Katya and Clara – and carefully weaves their stories together.  Their stories are beautifully told, with a slow and careful intent towards the brilliant ending.


This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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