Sunday, January 29, 2012


The Upright Piano Player is a gem of a first novel by a retired English advertising executive named David Abbott. His protagonist is, not coincidentally, a retired (not voluntarily) advertising executive, but the tale he tells is a beautifully nuanced tale of mortality, motivations, the randomness of human life, and working through loss and guilt. Every character in the book is dealing with some sort of injury, and the way they interact through some deadly serious events that nonetheless are totally random occurrences deeply explores, all pretentiousness aside, what it is to be a human being. And the kicker, the plot twist, is placed in an extremely unusual place which highlights another facet of human reality: that reconciliation and redemption are not etched in stone as truly as the barriers erected by tragedy, loss, and injury are not--that those defining boundaries of human relationships are merely painted lines on the highway of life, and that it is possible to veer back and forth over them as circumstances evolve. I tore through this book in a day, but will be thinking about it for many days to come.

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