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The Piano Shop on the Left Bank
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About the Author

Thad Carhart has lives in France for much of his life. He was educated at Yale and Stanford and has worked as an events coordinator in the music industry and as communications head of Apple Compter's European division. A freelance writer and consultant, he lives in Paris with his wife, Simo, and their two children.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Carhart's life as an American expatriate in Paris provides the setting for this witty and fascinating account of finding a piano to purchase and relearning how to play. His familiarity with French customs aids in his dealings with and subsequent acceptance as a friend by Luc, the proprietor of Desforges Pianos. A piano restoration workshop by day, it turns into an exclusive local hangout Friday nights. Gracefully shifting from the present day to his youth, Carhart, a freelance writer, provides both technical explanations about the workings of the piano and a history of the instrument. This background information helps place his studies and the remarks of various piano teachers, technicians, and aficionados in context. Similar to Noah Adams's fine Piano Lessons (LJ 3/15/96) with a continental flavor, Carhart's book will be of special interest to patrons with an affection for pianos or experience traveling in France. Warmly recommended for all libraries. Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

In this engaging memoir, an American writer living in Paris recounts his experiences in a piano shop tucked into an out-of-the way street on the rive gauche. Because the elderly proprietor refuses to admit strangers to the atelier where he repairs, rebuilds and sells used pianos to select customers, Carhart does not at first get in. But with an introduction from another client and the help of the owner's younger assistant and heir apparent, Luc, Carhart is finally welcomed into a magical space crowded with pianos of all makes and vintages. Soon he becomes one of the favored insiders who stop by nearly every day to gossip and talk about pianos with Luc. Luc's love of pianos is so infectious that Carhart's own childhood passion for the instrument is rekindled. He starts to take lessons again and buys a piano for his small apartment, a purchase that takes some time, for Luc, who regards a piano as a member of a family, prides himself on finding instruments compatible with his customers. Caught up in Luc's zeal, Carhart immerses himself in the history and mechanics of the piano, and he includes chapters on the craft of piano making, the instrument's development over the centuries and the fine points of tuning. In his renewed fascination, he reflects on piano teachers, those of his childhood as well as several renowned teachers of today. Carhart conveys his affection for Luc, the atelier and the piano with such enthusiasm that readers might be inspired to return to their own childhood instrument. At the very least, they will enjoy this warmhearted, intelligent insight into a private Paris. (Apr. 20) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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