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The Weight of a Piano

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  267 ratings  ·  89 reviews

For fans of Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, Amanda Coplin's The Orchardist, and Annie Proulx's Accordion Crimes. A tour-de-force about two women and the piano that inexorably ties their lives together through time and across continents, for better and for worse.

In 1962, in the Soviet Union, eight-year-old Katya is bequeathed what will become the love of her life: a Blüthner pian

Hardcover, 328 pages
Published January 22nd 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group
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  • The Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander
    The Weight of a Piano
    Release date: Jan 22, 2019
    For fans of Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, Annie Proulx's Accordion Crimes, Amanda Coplin's The Orchardist.

    A tour-de-force about two women and the piano th

    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 25 copies available, 2316 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Jan 31 - Feb 22, 2019

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    3.69  · 
    Rating details
     ·  267 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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    Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
    Pianos are difficult to move. Ponderous and unwieldly, a piano cannot be moved by oneself. Help is required. This particular piano carries with it not only its heft but emotional attachments that are equally as heavy. Auto mechanic, Clara, drags the piano around from apartment to apartment and relationship to relationship until she meets a photographer with his own baggage associated with the instrument. And what of the music or its absence? There is a great deal of history associated with this ...more
    Cindy Burnett
    Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Chris Cander’s new book, The Weight of a Piano is simply stunning. Her story follows the life of a Bluthner piano as it travels from owner to owner. In addition to the piano, there are two women who play central roles in the tale. In 1962 when she is 8 years old, Katya is gifted the piano by a neighbor in her apartment building in Russia. She eventually emigrates from Russia to the United States losing her piano in the process. In 2012, Clara, who was gifted the piano by her father, decides to s ...more
    Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
    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
    Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    I have a total "book hangover!"

    The story is poignant, but more importantly to me is how the people are so real! This author clearly understands human emotion on another level, and pulls the reader right into each character's world so completely that you truly forget they are words on a page and not flesh and blood!

    The research that must have gone into this novel in order to include the level of detail it does, is staggering.

    The PASSIONS are palpable! I laughed, I cried, and I even exclaimed "Oh
    Janelle • She Reads with Cats
    Thank you so very much Knopf for my free copy of THE WEIGHT OF A PIANO -

    This is an emotional, poignant novel with elegant prose that will pull you in so much you won’t want to let go.

    In 1962, eight-year-old Katya Dmitrievna receives a piano from her neighbor who sees something special in her. It’s a beautiful Blüthner piano and Katya grows up to become a gifted pianist. Years later, she’s married with a son and her husband decides it’s time to leave Russia to start a new life in America, but her
    Claude Bouchard
    Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
    OMG, can this book be any more irritating?

    Every major character in this book is either depressed, behaves badly, or keeps making bad decisions. It's essentially the story of a young Russian girl named Katya to whom is bequeathed a beautiful and expensive Blüthner piano, which eventually falls into the hands of an American girl named Carla, and how their stories intersect. Katya's story in interesting, and I wanted to read more about her. Carla's story, whose chapters alternated with Katya's, wa
    Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
    Shelves: 2018
    The start was GORGEOUS. The piano-maker roaming the Romanian forests to find a perfect tree; the craftsmen carefully creating each instrument by hand. But then: for as sweeping a story as it was, the language was seriously lacking, imho. I wanted perfectly-wrought, elegant sentences that made me sit up and take notice -- and I didn't get them. Somewhat predictable storyline and Greg got really creepy, really fast.
    Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
    I couldn’t decide whether to give this book a 3/ 3.5/ or a 4 and After debating I decided on a 4 because it genuinely was a good novel. It had some predictable moments however, the alternating stories of the past and present kept me interested not really lagging anywhere throughout. Of all the “twists” there was only really one that I didn’t see coming and I enjoyed that. This books synopsis is already written out so I will just say that it was a heartfelt book about wrestling with either holdin ...more
    Jen Coombes
    Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: written-reviews
    This book was provided to me for free from Net Galley in exchange for a fair review.

    Chris Cander starts out this book with a mind blowingly good first chapter. The problem with introducing a book with such a beautifully written first chapter is that you lead the readers to believe that every chapter after that is going to be of that same tone and quality. Unfortunately the remainder of the book just did not take me there again.

    With that said, this book had its moments and was technically written
    Stephanie Crowe
    Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing

    The Weight Of a Piano by Chris Cander
    I knew that Cander was writing this book and it’s title always intrigued me. Now it’s finished and what a book it is!! The piano has always been a part of my life so it is appealing to me that the Bluthner piano is the main character of this story. It’s presence becomes significant to every person who owned it. Cander weaves a mesmerizing tale of the human connections beginning with Julius Bluthner who created the piano in Germany, to Katya in Russia and fina
    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    Two stories alternate in this book. One is the story of a woman in Russia who loves her piano and has to leave it behind when she goes to live in America. The other is the story of a woman in California who hesitates to get involved with others because she was orphaned at a young age. She, too, owns a piano, given to her by her father before his death, but it is a piano she has never learned to play.


    This book felt like it must have been written collaboratively, with authors who
    Thanks to FTR and publishers for an ARC of the book.
    I thought this would be a 'weighty' book, pun intended. Having recently finished a russian cold war era book I had similar expectations of this one. But this is, at the heart of it, a love story and a woman called Clara trying to understand her past, to come to terms with her present. So read it as a romance and you wont be dissapointed.

    This book starts well, with descriptions of Piano making. Its an easy read with varying emotions and some cli
    Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    I read an advance copy of this novel and absolutely love it. Highly recommend!!
    Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    Fast paced and a joy to read! Interesting storyline with rich details and fascinating characters. Loved it!
    Michelle Lancaster
    Chris Cander
    The Weight of a Piano: A Novel
    Alfred A. Knopf
    Hardcover, 978-0-5256-5467-4 (also available as an e-book), 336 pgs., $26.95
    January 22, 2019

    Julius Blüthner, a German piano maker in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was a legend in his time. He would take the train from Leipzig to the mountains of Romania to personally choose the spruce trees which would become, after a process involving many steps and many years, a piano. One of the Blüthner factory’s ra
    Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I received The Weight of a Piano through NetGalley in exchange for a review. Thanks to Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for allowing me a copy!

    Two women over nearly 50 years are united by their attachment to an extraordinary piano and a secret that causes a domino effect of tragedy. Katya is growing up in the Soviet Union during the 1960s when a neighbour gifts her with a Bluthner piano; Clara has just ended another hopeless relationship in 2012 and is moving the same piano from her ex-boyfriend
    Susan Beamon
    Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This is the story of a piano, a Bluthner piano, made in Germany a long time ago. One of the owners took it with him to Russia. All we know of him is that he played the piano very well and he had no family with him. Everyone was afraid of him except for Katya. Because of that he taught her to play, and when he died, he left the piano to her.
    From then on, when Katya had the piano, she was happy. When she was without it, she was sad. To get it out of Russia when she left, she had to let someone els
    Deb Coco
    Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I had no idea what to expect of this book. I'd read one review, but I chose the audiobook after listening to a sample of the narrator, who is incredible. She is able to swing from the voice a 26 year old American, to a Russian child and then women, a German, all effortlessly while telling one of the most unique stories I've read in some time.
    The piano is a main character in this novel, and its journey is beautifully crafted. There are two main female characters whose lives are woven together by
    Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
    Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    🎹 “I want to say that there’s a reason this piano exists in the world. This specific piano. That there’s something important about it, to the people who made it, to the people who played it and lost it and found it and lost it again, thinking it was gone forever. This Blüthner made music out of nothing, it thawed frozen imaginations, and then it burned down and showed up again with its old scratches and a new owner. This piano has been playing in my mind my whole life...”
    📖The Weight of a Piano
    Mary Lins
    Dec 11, 2018 rated it liked it
    Shelves: complete
    “The Weight of a Piano”, by Chris Cander, alternates points of view between Russian immigrant Katya, and twenty-six year old car mechanic, Clara. But the main protagonist is really a German-crafted Bluthner upright piano (it’s a real thing – Wikipedia).

    Initially I was drawn to the author because she is a fellow Houstonian (although the story is set in California and Death Valley), but I was also drawn in by the story. Clara’s decision to sell the piano introduces Greg Zeldin and sets up the mys
    Penny Linsenmayer
    Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Cander's gorgeous prose, particularly in the opening and ending chapters, will draw readers in to her nuanced exploration of grief, love, betrayal, and the transformative power of art and music in our lives. Through alternate timelines, interwoven relationships, and a single beloved piano, readers are pulled into the Soviet Union of 1960s-80s, Los Angeles in the 80s-2000s, and present-day Death Valley National Park. Each of the main characters contends with a unique face of grief, with the fragi ...more
    Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Beginning so very good. Wonderful writing. Great story. Some parts so good, really reached inside this piano player. And then some parts really lost me, like I was reading a sixth grader’s paper. One reviewer described some parts as sluggish. I don’t mind sluggish, that is not my complaint. Read it for the beginning and end.
    Karen Raskin
    Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Overall, this was a very good story that I really enjoyed reading. Although the writing was uneven at times, sometimes it was quite powerful, especially near the end. I could experience the feelings of the emotionally damaged characters Carla, Katya, and Greg, and I wanted to know how their different stories fit together. The piano was a sort of character too, burdened by its sorrowful history.
    Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
    This is a beautifully written story which explores many aspects of relationships. I thought it was very clever to use a piano to signify the different “weights” we all carry around.
    Bonnye Reed
    GNab Chris Cander brings us a multifaceted work of art in Weight of a Piano. We follow the lives affected by both their love of music and the ownership of this upright 500 plus pound Bluthner piano. The soundboard is built of timber harvested in Romanian forests in the late 19th century, cured properly over many years to provide the perfect depth and purity of tone, and installed into this quality upright piano manufactured in Germany in the first decade of the twentieth century.

    The blind Germa
    Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: contemporary
    The publishing industry traditionally releases its top books later in the year, but I usually discover a gem or two in the early months. One such treasure is The Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander.

    This evocative novel tells the complicated story of a seemingly ordinary, upright Blüthner piano. When an artisan picks the finest wood from a German forest to carve the instrument, he reflects, “Why should this piano be special? Each one was special, with its own soul and distinct personality. This one
    Lolly K Dandeneau
    Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
    via my blog:
    “Now, stop with the crying before your misery becomes contagious.”

    The Weight of a Piano is a heavy one in this latest novel by Chris Cander. The story begins with Julies Blüthner (maker and founder of Blüthner piano and factory in Leipzig Germany) walking through the forest high in the Romanian mountains searching for the perfect tree for his creations. One such piano will be given to Ekaterina “Katya” Dmitrievna when she befriends a sad, elderl
    Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    This book is described as: “A tour-de-force about two women and the piano that inexorably ties their lives together through time and across continents, for better and for worse.”

    Chris Cander is a new author for me. “The Weight of a Piano” is one of the best books I have ever read. I found the story fascinating, compelling, heart breaking at times, and a real page-turner. My emotions were all over the place as this story took a Russian family to live in the United States. The process the family
    Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This was a new author for me. I really enjoyed the book. While the format of alternating characters and time usually does not thrill me this book was perfect for the style.
    For fans of Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, Amanda Coplin's The Orchardist, and Annie Proulx's Accordion Crimes. A tour-de-force about two women and the piano that inexorably ties their lives together through time and across continents, for better and for worse.

    In 1962, in the Soviet Union, eight-year-old Katya is bequeathed what wi
    Tati Dengo
    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    The Weight of a Piano is carefully tuned literary fiction. It finds the perfect moment to tug at all the right emotions, leaving you in a reverent, contemplative silence by the end.

    Each chapter switches back and forth between the POVs of Carla, the current owner of the piano, and Katya, the former owner.

    Carla is a young mechanic who lost her parents in a tragic fire; the piano being the only physical object that remains of t
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    Chris Cander is the author of the novels THE WEIGHT OF A PIANO (forthcoming from Knopf, 2019), WHISPER HOLLOW, and 11 STORIES, and the grade K-5 picture book THE WORD BURGLAR. Visit for more info.

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