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Hammerklavier Hardcover – January 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 126 pages
  • Publisher: George Braziller; 1st edition (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807614513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807614518
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,711,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Originally published in France in 1997, this slim collection of delicately etched memories portrays scenes from the author's and her loved ones' lives. Reza, whose celebrated play Art was presented on Broadway in 1998, affectingly remembers her father, whose reverence for Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" informs her memories of their shared love of music and continues to haunt her dreams. Loss and death are recurrent themes in these melancholy reflections, which often deal with the illness and death of close friends and family members. Leafing through the photographs in a biography of the writer Stefan Zweig, she stares at his old armchair and lamp, wondering, "Have they joined the shadow they met on earth, the presence as infinitesimal as theirs in the light of ages, their ephemeral friend Stefan, in the common human grave ?" Some of Reza's memories are tinged with humor. At age five, her daughter, Alta, would put on rather enigmatic performances involving "a plushy heap of soft toys," lots of silence and, occasionally, "barely audible words, addressed to the blank walls." Obliged to attend these shows, Reza's husband once whispered that they reminded him of the performances Nero gave and forced people to watch, and, he added, "People threw themselves out of windows." Poetically written, wry and subtle, these anecdotes may seem slight to some; others will respond more sympathetically to the author's perceptive reflections on life and the passage of time. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This collection of autobiographical sketches grapples with the universal issues of love, loss, and the passage of time. In the title story, which refers to a difficult piece by Beethoven, Reza tells of the rivalry with her father over their shared love of the piano as she tries to understand and convey the complicated emotions connected with the slow deterioration and eventual death of those we love. In another episode, she muses about her daughter's toothless smile and the fleeting impermanence of life. Her economical rendering of these short sketches adds to their poignancy. Poetic in expression, they capture the nuances of relationships with a peculiar clarity. Perhaps Reza's experience as a dramatist enables her to draw such expressive portraits. Author of The Unexpected Man, Conversations After a Funeral, and The Passage of Winter, she is best known for the Tony Award-winning play Art, which opened on Broadway in 1998. An unusual book, Hammerklavier will appeal to readers of poetry and those looking for insight into life's complexities. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
-Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter Czipott on December 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I'm only familiar with the French original, so I cannot comment on how, or indeed whether, the translation has caught Reza's tone. The original is stunningly spare and simple in its prose, like Beckett or Pinter but without even their levels of affectation. Yet each sentence glistens. Passing moments, events, sounds, emotions are caught with precision and soul. The microtomed slices of life thus presented accumulate somehow into a profound, deeply moving, yet unsentimental esthetic whole. With this work, Reza reveals yet another dimension to her very considerable Art.
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