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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review from Discover Great New Writers
Thad Carhart's book is a loving portrait of the most complicated of musical instruments, the piano. When Thad, an American expat in Paris, finds himself intrigued by a particular neighborhood atelier, the ashes of his former passion for the piano are stirred. Walking by the curtained shop with the sign "Desforges Pianos," Thad can't understand why the shop doesn't do a better job of merchandising its goods. The only items displayed are the tools for piano repair; does the shop actually sell pianos? Thad bluffs his way inside, only to be rebuffed by the shopkeeper. But after numerous attempts to pass through the heavy gauze curtain (and with the helpful introduction of a neighbor), Thad finally gains entry into the inner sanctum. What he finds there is utterly captivating: a room filled with pianos of all shapes and sizes, in various stages of assembly and repair.
Eventually purchasing his own piano, Thad searches for the proper instructor, and his further explorations into the history of the "great, impractical hulk" lead back to his own childhood memories. But it is Thad's growing relationship with the master builder of the pianos, Luc (who shares Thad's passion and serves as his guide through the strange musical world in Paris) that drives the story, winning newfound affection for the piano. Thad Carhart's beguiling book is a fascinating profile of both the piano and Paris. It is sure to send readers scampering for a peek inside the nearest piano they find. (Spring 2001 Selection)