Customer Reviews for

Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    an okay read

    Pleasant, atmospheric, but unless you are really into pianos, it can be a bit tedious in parts.

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  • Posted January 4, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    This is a delightful and informative book that will please piano lovers. It should be read in small bits, not at once as there is so much to digest. The author has, in addition to the information on pianos, given us a glimpse into the real Paris and the lives of its residents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2012

    I loved every minute of this book. I have played the piano all

    I loved every minute of this book. I have played the piano all my life, and lived in Paris for a couple of years, but this little book opened my eyes to more of both those worlds than I ever thought to look for. Maybe it was too much detail on some things for some readers, but not for me! I found myself absolutely transported.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I loved this book. It was entertaining, funny, and was educational as it included a lot of history of the development of the piano forte,and how pianos work. A must read for anyone who plays the piano or tries to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Makes me want to go to Paris and take lessons.

    Fantastic and addictive. Almost as good as being there.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Great Find!

    I picked up this book with never having heard of it before and did not know what to expect. Sometimes books captivate you from the beginning and sometimes they take a while to get into. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank hooked me from the moment I read the synopsis on the back cover. While you can find a piano in many homes throughout the world, they are most likely used as "furniture" rather than as an instrument. Yet, the piano has a vast history and many connections to the past and throughout the book, the author, Thad Carhart, dedicates chapters to the workings, antiquity and people behind one of the greatest instruments. Though it was interesting to learn how a piano really works and what each particular piece that makes up the piano inside and out is called, I did feel that the chapters dedicated to these descriptions were a bit long. Maybe it's just because I have a short attention span and always need "book action" to be happening, but while I found it a little boring during these particular chapters, other readers may be extremely captivated by how a piano is built, how it produces sound and who has left their mark on the piano world. Since the book is a memoir - non-fiction - the characters are based off of real people in the real world. The "characters" we are introduced to in The Piano Shop do not disappoint and really make up the entire book. Carhart introduces his readers to a lover of everything piano and the future owner of the piano shop, past piano teachers that were both good and bad, and even a drunken piano tuner. The people Thad befriends throughout his music quest and his encounters with each of them, which he dutifully describes throughout his writing, is what really makes the book so good. The people in the book are so endearing that Thad even says in his acknowledgments, 'Please don't try to find Luc or Mathilde or any of the others; they are not waiting to be discovered'. Finally, the description of his Paris neighborhood, the knowledge he provides for the instrument he loves and the different experiences he shares with us, that's what kept me reading to the end. I finished this book in such a short time because I wanted to keep reading and I wanted to share it with my sister whom has played the piano for many years and is currently studying French. I highly recommend reading The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart. Music, Paris, pianos, a love connection between a man and an instrument.who doesn't love that?!

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    Not recommended

    This book starts with such promise but it quickly disappoints. I play piano and also love Paris so I began to read this book with great anticipation. Unfortunately, the author feels the need to explain every detail and then restate it with copious adjectives and it becomes tedious to wade through. There are several chapters that have nothing to do with the story development but outline the history of the piano or how a piano creates sound. The characters, with the exception of Luc and Jos, are briefly introduced and poorly developed. There were so many opportunities to engage the reader in a story, but all I was left with was book that was monotonous and incomplete.

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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    Recommended for piano lovers and Francophiles

    Like Carhart I had resumed piano lessons later in life and discovered a tuner's notes on the inside of the 1920's upright piano I got for free.
    I visited Paris two years ago for a few days and fell in love with the city of lights.
    Carhart's story brought together two things that I love: Paris and the piano. I was intrigued with the day to day life a Parisian businessman and the quartier. The piano history blew my mind. Who knew why pianos were always black and they got their start in Italy?
    A great read.
    PaBLo

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2009

    What a wonderful book.

    Took up paino as an adult only months ago and found this book to be not only inspiring but a fun read. Makes a great gift to any player at any level.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2008

    I Loved It!!!!!!

    I'm not a pianist, but I am a music loving francophile - not only did I learn much about the piano which fascinated me, but I loved the way the author captured the parisians! I felt as if I were participating in each and every one of his conversations -- and when I closed the book, felt as if I had just returned from paris!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2008

    Splendid read..

    Clearly a work of non-fiction this book is a refreshing look at the enigmatic piano shops that some of us pass during our daily lives. Could have easily jumped into a mystery-lead fiction tale but I think it says just that much more about the story. A choice weekend read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    Not entertaining at all for the general public. Read this book only if you play or love pianos. This book is very informative, if you want to know about pianos, their maintainance, history, structure and some history, read it but if you are looking for a good story or novel skip it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2005

    Obsession with Paris-Obsession with the Piano

    I read this wonderful book upon return from my 1st trip to Paris. It prompted me to search for a piano with soul. My piano had provided 40 years of service, but it never sounded like the baby grand I grew up with. Thanks to MR Carhart's enchanting love affair with the piano, I'm now the proud owner of a mature, sleek black 6' grand purchased from a piano shop in CA with its' own sense of mission.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2004

    A Book about Obession More Than Just Pianos

    You don't need to know how to play the piano in order to love this book. You just need to want to play the piano. This is a book about an American who wanders into an atelier in Paris out of casual curiosity, then gets gradually drawn into a cult of piano lovers,surely a dwindling breed in a world of passive entertainment devices. This book likely tells you more than you ever really wanted to know about pianos, but the author convinces you that these details are necessary knowledge and that is what draws you into this chronicle. This is a book about obsession, a constructive kind, more than it is just a book about pianos.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2003

    To be a Lover, and Especially an Eager one┬┐

    In the 'Straightforward Instruction' to his Inventions Bach addresses the 'amateurs of the keyboard, and especially the eager ones.' In today¿s music world the amateur is basically a dilettante and concerts of classical music are becoming increasingly events of specialists playing a specialized repertoire for specialists. Yet, historically, it was always the amateur who stood at the center of musical culture in Europe. An amateur, an 'amator,' is a lover¿and true love is an art. Thad Carhart¿s relationship with the piano evolves very much like a good solid love story, from his being seduced by a mysterious Parisian piano shop, from his first coy attempts to outsmart the reclusive owners, from the way he succeeds in gaining entry into a magical world of piano lovers, to his buying of an instrument, taking piano lessons, maintaining the instrument, and participating in piano related events such as house concerts, master classes, etc. With genuine charm and ingenious simplicity the author describes how the nurturing of this love enriches his daily life, how it builds strong personal rituals, generates growing enthusiasm, knowledge and meaning. This cult of affection is not just a short-lived entertainment for Carhart but the enthusiasm slowly pervades all aspects of his life. The author gradually derives more pleasure from his sojourn in Paris. His observations become more adventurous and under the busy surface of modern Paris he discovers a quaint yet very substantial reclusive culture, a secret circle of enthusiasts, a part of society which would always remain hidden from the eyes of a tourist. The persons he meets¿piano dealers, piano builders, technicians, professional musicians, teachers¿are described as enthusiastic idealists who have preserved and developed the quality, the integrity and the dignity of their respective profession. Through the help and influence of these inspired professionals the author quickly advances from amateur to piano connoisseur and learns to appreciate the unique place of the piano in European culture: It may be an elegant piece of furniture, a rare antique, a collector¿s item or an exquisitely crafted mechanical instrument. But the piano is also a vital link to the past, and the hands of an experienced pianist can instantaneously revive 300 years of history. Last not least a piano can be seen as a living being itself, complete with birthplace, with an individual history, a time of maturation and finally death. Carhart¿s 'gumption' and his strong emphasis on quality remind me of Robert Persig¿s 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,' but Carhart in his narration never acts as a philosopher or teacher. He never fails to inspire and, while reading The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, I somehow regretted being a professional pianist myself. Otherwise I surely would have fallen in love with the piano all over again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2002

    A pleasure of Music and Musical Instruments

    Music is an international language. And Piano also. Piano taught us lots of beauties of Music and setbacks at the same time. But can you forget the complicated attractions? I can't. This book has everyone's memories at our deep minds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2001

    Paris, Pianos, and No Sour Notes

    This warm and charming memoir of a non-French Parisian's immersion in both Paris and the piano, gives great insight into the psychology of 'being French' as well as the near universal need to reconnect with early experience. Developing softly with the opening of a door of an atelier in a small street in a very French quartier, this book can not fail to bring pleasure and insight to the fortunate reader drawn to it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
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