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 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 piano, built at the turn of the century in Germany, on which she discovers everything that she herself can do with music and what music, in turn, does for her. Yet after marrying, she emigrates with her young family from Russia to America, at her husband's frantic insistence, and her piano is lost in the shuffle.
     In 2012, in Bakersfield, California, twenty-six-year-old Clara Lundy loses another boyfriend and again has to find a new apartment, which is complicated by the gift her father had given her for her twelfth birthday, shortly before he and her mother died in a fire that burned their house down: a Blüthner upright she has never learned to play. Orphaned, she was raised by her aunt and uncle, who in his car-repair shop trained her to become a first-rate mechanic, much to the surprise of her subsequent customers. But this work, her true mainstay in a scattered life, is put on hold when her hand gets broken while the piano's being moved--and in sudden frustration she chooses to sell it. And what becomes crucial is who the most interested party turns out to be. . .
“A charming, puzzling plot that gets more exciting and addictive the deeper you sink into it. . . . Cander’s unadorned prose composes some truly beautiful descriptions of the joy of music.”—Leslie Hinson, BookPage [starred]

The Weight of a Piano showcases [Cander’s] development as a powerful storyteller, reminding me of Accordion Crimes by the great Annie Proulx. . . .  [This is] an original, creative tackling of the essentially solitary human condition; the effort required of women to claim full personhood; and the frightening vulnerability necessary to connect with another, defiant in the face of the transitory nature of all things”—Michelle Newby, Lone Star Literary
 
“Cander interweaves a surprising, time-jumping plot with a deep understanding of her characters’ emotional landscapes. The Weight of a Piano is also an exploration of the healing and cathartic powers of art and music, making it the perfect gift for the creatives in your life.”—Elena Nicolaou, Refinery29

“[An] extraordinary tale of pain, fear, loss and love. . . . The Weight of a Piano is a touching story of survival--for two families, two girls, and an instrument.”—Jim Alkon, BookTrib.com
 
“In The Weight of a Piano, two women are linked by one instrument. . . . Chris Cander masterfully reveals how these women’s lives connect (and how the piano came to be made) and, in the process, meditates on grief and living in the past.”—Elizabeth Sile, Real Simple “Five Books That Won’t Disappoint”
 
“This beautiful tale . . . is impossible to put down and impossible to forget.”—Library Journal [starred]
 
“Strong characterization and attention to detail, whether in the manufacture of a piano or in the desolate beauty of Death Valley, elevate Cander's tale about learning to let go of the past.”—Booklist
 
"Deftly plotted and well written, a gentle meditation on the healing power of art--and its limitations. . . . Cander grabs the reader in her bravura, thickly detailed opening pages [and] expertly parcels out her revelations [as] she builds parallel narratives [toward] an odd but beautiful finale."--Kirkus Reviews [starred]
 
"Like Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo, The Weight of a Piano is a visionary work about the madness inherent in all art and the burdens of history that give rise to art and must be carried in turn. The miracle of this wonderful novel is to place an object, weighted with history, in a locale where we would never expect to find it, making the unexpected both palpable and real, and by doing so, this beautiful, intricate novel gives us one indelible picture after another, each one written in a different key."--Charles Baxter
 
"The Weight of a Piano tenderly illuminates the solace--and the suffering--that art can bring to those who have endured grievous loss. Cander’s ingenious plot braids together vividly disparate geographies and times, swerving deliciously whenever we think we know where she’s heading. She understands love and terror and the uncanny power of inheritance."--Pamela Erens
 
"Cander takes readers into new and uncharted territory with a story that spans a century, continents, cultures, and many lives. This novel is sly and sexy and serendipitous, and through the magic and wisdom surrounding a single piano it helps to restore what is beautiful in both art and life. To me, The Weight of a Piano already feels indelible."--Peter Geye
 
"At the heart of this novel is an old German upright piano whose music reverberates through the stories of two seemingly unconnected people: a man on an inexplicable quest to photograph it, and a woman who, despite being unable to play it, can't let it go. Elegantly twisting the strands together, Cander explores how art and music change and enrich our lives, often in wondrous and remarkable ways, and also touches on love and loss, memory and forgetting, perseverance and self-discovery. Like a powerful melody, The Weight of a Piano is haunting, evocative, and impossible to forget."--Christina Baker Kline
 
"Cander's portrait of two powerful women and the heartbreaking intersection of their families is arresting and affecting, but as all its characters would agree, the real heart of this novel is the Blüthner upright piano we track from its soundboard's origin in a Romanian forest: an instrument so charismatic that for both women it's a way of floating above their world and connecting to a lost home, as well as eventually to a version of themselves they've never before considered. The Weight of a Piano soars when it obsesses and lets us see what it is it hears."—Jim Shepard