Martin's Must Reads: 'The Weight of a Piano'

May 14, 2019

“The Bluthner carried the memory of every note it had ever created. Every chord, every scale.  It had absorbed all the grief and longing and joy and exultation expressed through it’s action, the impression of every touch and every tear shed at its keyboard.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and that’s a quote from Chris Cander’s book The Weight of a Piano.

In 1962 in the Soviet Union, eight-year-old Katya is bequeathed with what will become the love of her life: a Bluthner piano. After emigrating to America with her husband, Katya doesn’t think she’ll ever see it again. She mourns her piano for fourteen years until one day a man appears on her door with it, a man with whom she begins an affair. Bruce is a married man with a child of his own. When Katya’s abusive husband suspects the affair, he strikes the piano and Katya begs Bruce to take the piano to his home before it suffers any more harm.  After Bruce and his wife die in a fire, Katya assumes her beloved piano is gone forever.

The chapters alternate between Katya and Clara Lundy. In 2012, Clara who has no living relatives, works as a mechanic in an auto shop. When she breaks her hand moving her piano yet again, she places it for sale online.  Greg, a photographer who has been looking for a Bluthner piano to use for a photo series, responds to her ad. Regretting her decision, Clara agrees only to rent it to Greg and, in an effort to protect the piano,  follows the moving van out to Death Valley for the photo shoot. It’s there that Clara and Greg discover a connection.

If you have a connection to a special piano, then you must read The Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander.