Hammerklavier

Overview

Yasmina Reza is best known as the author of the immensely successful Tony award-winning play Art. Her latest work, Hammerklavier, is a bittersweet collection of autobiographical sketches that have love, loss, and the relentless passage of time as their themes.
Convinced that one's deepest thoughts can be said simply, Reza does so with unequaled humor and perceptiveness. She contemplates evanescence and death in her young daughter's toothless smile, secretly mourning that it ...
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Overview

Yasmina Reza is best known as the author of the immensely successful Tony award-winning play Art. Her latest work, Hammerklavier, is a bittersweet collection of autobiographical sketches that have love, loss, and the relentless passage of time as their themes.
Convinced that one's deepest thoughts can be said simply, Reza does so with unequaled humor and perceptiveness. She contemplates evanescence and death in her young daughter's toothless smile, secretly mourning that it will inevitably change. In the title story, the sometimes adversarial but very loving relationship Reza shared with her father is examined in terms of their love of music.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Originally published in France in 1997, this slim collection of delicately etched memories portrays scenes from the author's and her loved ones' lives. Reza, whose celebrated play Art was presented on Broadway in 1998, affectingly remembers her father, whose reverence for Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" informs her memories of their shared love of music and continues to haunt her dreams. Loss and death are recurrent themes in these melancholy reflections, which often deal with the illness and death of close friends and family members. Leafing through the photographs in a biography of the writer Stefan Zweig, she stares at his old armchair and lamp, wondering, "Have they joined the shadow they met on earth, the presence as infinitesimal as theirs in the light of ages, their ephemeral friend Stefan, in the common human grave ?" Some of Reza's memories are tinged with humor. At age five, her daughter, Alta, would put on rather enigmatic performances involving "a plushy heap of soft toys," lots of silence and, occasionally, "barely audible words, addressed to the blank walls." Obliged to attend these shows, Reza's husband once whispered that they reminded him of the performances Nero gave and forced people to watch, and, he added, "People threw themselves out of windows." Poetically written, wry and subtle, these anecdotes may seem slight to some; others will respond more sympathetically to the author's perceptive reflections on life and the passage of time. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
This collection of autobiographical sketches grapples with the universal issues of love, loss, and the passage of time. In the title story, which refers to a difficult piece by Beethoven, Reza tells of the rivalry with her father over their shared love of the piano as she tries to understand and convey the complicated emotions connected with the slow deterioration and eventual death of those we love. In another episode, she muses about her daughter's toothless smile and the fleeting impermanence of life. Her economical rendering of these short sketches adds to their poignancy. Poetic in expression, they capture the nuances of relationships with a peculiar clarity. Perhaps Reza's experience as a dramatist enables her to draw such expressive portraits. Author of The Unexpected Man, Conversations After a Funeral, and The Passage of Winter, she is best known for the Tony Award-winning play Art, which opened on Broadway in 1998. An unusual book, Hammerklavier will appeal to readers of poetry and those looking for insight into life's complexities. Recommended for public and academic libraries.--Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Carol Long
The frictions between intense feeling and the retreat towards analytical detachment energize Hammerklavier, while the nuances of atmosphere and emotion are rendered in elegant lucid English by Carol Cosman and Catherine Macmillan.
Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9788433969491
  • Publisher: Anagrama
  • Publication date: 7/28/2002

Table of Contents

A Dream 15
Hammerklavier 16
The Mask of Death 21
Above Such Things 24
Marta 26
Poor Kreutzer 31
The Dismal Heights... 33
The Grumpy Little Girl 35
To Be Part of It 39
Lucette Moses 42
Moments of Irrational Optimism 46
Just What Are You Doing, My Poor Girl? 50
Mamoune 53
The Necklace 56
Too Much 59
A Time Gone By 60
A Mirage 62
Farewell to Catalogues 64
A Meeting 66
The Toothless Smile 69
A Deplorable Education 71
"I'm Just Too Impatient" 73
On the Existence of Porte Champerret 76
The Dark Hemisphere 80
Thirty Seconds of Silence 84
Brothers 87
Today's Dead 89
Eugenie Grandet 90
To Say...Yes 92
One Morning 94
Where You Are Not 96
Twenty-four Years Old 98
The "Clash" 101
Me'a She'arim 105
A Friend 108
An Experiment with the Void 110
Roger Blin 112
Places and Places 114
Declaration 115
Go on Your Way... 116
The List 118
Return 121
Horror of Patience 124
Forbidden... 126
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