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The Piano Shop on the Left Bank (Memoir)

Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier

by T. E. Carhart

2002 Edition at Amazon

Named One Of The Best Books Of The Year
By The Washington Post's Book World

About the Book

Ever since the piano was invented, people have longed to own one. In the nineteenth century, an age without recorded music or television, this craze reached its apex.

Pianos were everywhere: they swelled and shrank in the heat of the colonies, they were in every genteel home, in restaurants, on steamships, in the remote bars of the American west.

Some of these pianos have become treasured family heirlooms, some have ended up as firewood. Others have led a more intinerant life, washing up in all sorts of strange places.

Occasionally, these wandering pianos find their way to a secret, glass-roofed workshop in Paris where they are lovingly restored and sent off again by a French piano repairer with a passion for his job.

When Thad Carhart discovered Luc and his hidden cache of pianos in the dusty repair shop on his street in Paris, his life changed. Having been constantly on the move between America and France, he had never owned his own piano.

As he explored the Eldorado of second-hand uprights, grands, harpsichords and player pianos in Luc's atelier, talked to him about how they work and their history, and finally found the baby grand of his dreams, he rediscovered his deep love for this most magical of instruments.

Reviews of the Book

 • “[Carhart’s] writing is fluid and lovely enough to lure the rustiest plunker back to the piano bench and the most jaded traveler back to Paris.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 •  “Captivating… [Carhart] joins the tiny company of foreigners who have written of the French as verbs. . . . What he tries to capture is not the sight of them, but what they see.”—The New York Times
 •  “Thoroughly engaging… In part it is a book about that most unpredictable and pleasurable of human experiences, serendipity… The book is also about something more difficult to pin down, friendship and community.”—The Washington Post
 •  “Carhart writes with a sensuousness enhanced by patience and grounded by the humble acquisition of new insight into music, his childhood, and his relationship to the city of Paris.”—The New Yorker


About the Author

Thad Cochran info at Wikipedia