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The Upright Piano Player by David Abbott
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The Upright Piano Player (2010)

by David Abbott

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1994659,063 (3.63)1 / 39
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Haunting in the sense that I'm still replaying the chain of events in my head. The style of writing holds me in suspense. Original storyline about a retiree told from an interesting angle. The ending was somewhat abrupt, perhaps I was waiting for a connection to the title, a confession of sorts. ( )
  paperdust | Apr 30, 2013 |
If this book doesn't break your heart, you don't have one. ( )
  pidgeon92 | Apr 1, 2013 |
Book Description
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
An adroit first novel of exceptional grace and emotional power by a legendary British ad executive.

“David Abbott’s The Upright Piano Player is a wise and moving debut, an accomplished novel of quiet depths and resonant shadows.” —John Burnham Schwartz, author of The Commoner and Reservation Road

Henry Cage seems to have it all: a successful career, money, a beautiful home, and a reputation for being a just and principled man. But public virtues can conceal private failings, and as Henry faces retirement, his well-ordered life begins to unravel. His ex-wife is ill, his relationship with his son is strained to the point of estrangement, and on the eve of the new millennium he is the victim of a random violent act which soon escalates into a prolonged harassment.

As his ex-wife's illness becomes grave, it is apparent that there is little time to redress the mistakes of the past. But the man stalking Henry remains at large. Who is doing this? And why? David Abbott brilliantly pulls this thread of tension ever tighter until the surprising and emotionally impactful conclusion. The Upright Piano Player is a wise and acutely observed novel about the myriad ways in which life tests us—no matter how carefully we have constructed our own little fortresses.

My comment: TOO DEPRESSING!! OMG, the poor man; nothing uplifting about this book at all. ( )
  camtb | May 21, 2012 |
Henry Cage has your worst nightmare. Nothing good ever seems to happen to him. While I thought the writing intriging, fast paced and with so many characters I had trouble linking one event to the next. He's fired, stalked, unforgiving and suffers the worst event of all at the very beginning of the book. Maybe the author's next book will tie together in a better way ( )
  eembooks | Mar 23, 2012 |
This is a book that got some attention when it was published in 2010. But the short descriptions - retired businessman with family problems becomes the target of a random act of violence on the eve of the new millennium - made me question whether I would like this book. However, curiosity got the better of me when I saw the book on my library's shelf. I decided to give it a try.

My uncertainty about whether I would like this book continued throughout the first half of the book. The main character, Henry Cage, was hard for me to like and hard for me to hate. He felt very uneven. The book begins with a tragic event that takes place in May 2004. Abbott uses this event to build some sympathy for Henry. However, the rest of the book is a flashback to 1999-2000, and Henry is a much less sympathetic character. Sometimes, I understood his motives. Other times, I just wanted to shake him. He is not only the victim of a random act of violence. He is a victim of his whole life. Then it dawned on me that perhaps that was Abbott's point. I re-engaged with the story.

And in the last half of the book, Abbott took me on a ride. I can't reveal much, but the storyline has some twists and turns that makes it evident that the opening chapter was not simply a device to build sympathy for Henry, but a key part of the story. In the end, I was still frustrated by Henry, but I was also impressed with Abbott's storytelling skills. This is Abbott's first book, after a forty-year career in the advertising industry, and I will be looking for his future books. ( )
1 vote porch_reader | Jan 22, 2012 |
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The consequences of our actions take hold of us, quite indifferent to our claim that meanwhile we have improved. -- Nietzsche.
the snow doesn't give a soft white damn Whom it touches. -- E.E. Cummings
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For Eve
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Hij wist dat het onvergeeflijk was om in zijn oude landrover naar de begrafenis te rijden, maar hij had geen ander vervoer.
He knew it was unforgiveable to drive to the funeral in the old Land Rover, but it was the only transport he had.
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Book description
Ian McEwan fans, take note! The Upright Piano Player is a wise and acutely observed novel about the myriad ways in which life tests us—no matter how carefully we have constructed our own little fortresses. Written by a legendary British advertising man, who will soon be inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame, this book is a labor of love, written with the utmost care and grace.
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A man who seems to have it all, but as he faces retirement, his life begins to unravel, and a violent act escalates into mysterious harassment.

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