Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
My Mother Was An Upright Piano Paperback – April 19, 2012
|New from||Used from|
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The thing I love most about Hershman's writing is its fearlessness. She manages to convey emotions through the most unlikely combination of words, in the most unlikely settings. Some of her sentences are absolute perfection.
Many of the stories in this collection would fall under flash fiction, as they are mostly very short. Some of them are more like fragments. But that doesn't mean that they aren't packed with layers of nuanced meaning. A few of her stories almost made me cry (one did bring tears to my eyes but I was on a bus so I had to hold it together). Standout stories for me were Her Dirt; Trams and Pies; Screens; Colours Shift and Fade; and My Mother was an Upright Piano. Hershman does madness extremely well, with a lightness of touch that shows the humanity of the mad person and views the bewildering behaviour of the world to those trapped inside their own heads with their own non-conformist world view. Some of her pieces veer towards horror, not in the blood and guts sense but in the strong sense of unease and discomfort they suggest.
Not every story worked for me but that is also something I can admire about this writer: she is not afraid to experiment, to bring a fresh approach to a thought, a feeling, a moment in time. She shows the world not how it is on the surface but the overlooked and unseen.
If you love short stories, and writing that makes you think and feel, and exposes parts of you that you'd rather keep hidden, you'll love this collection. Just avoid reading it on public transport if you can.
The title is apt since many of the stories are about family relationships, often mothers and daughters. The mother-daughter stories are very personal, intimate, honest and touching, such as The Lion and the Meteorite Can Never Touch You and Trams and Pies.
Hershman is an expert in describing family relations and she does it needing no more than a few hundred words (Under the Tree, The Family, My Mother Was An Upright Piano). These are small stories with a big impact.
I also loved the stories about sisters in Ankle Socks and Hair in Bunches and of best friends in Graveside.
Some of the stories in this collection are deliciously surreal, such as Like Owls, Tiny Red Heart and In Triplicate.
Others are satirical and darkly funny. I enjoyed the social satire of the opening story The Google 250 and Underground, the art criticism in Containing Art, the satire of friendship in Retreating, I Retreated, and the gender stings in The Tragedy of Tragic Men.
Relationships is another theme in the collection, such as the quantum romance in If and the fast forward modern-day fling in At Camden Town He Said He Loved Me.
Some stories made me wish we could have known more about the narrator, such as My Flickering Self. Other stories are so intriguing I would have liked to see more of the aftermath of the events, such as Beam Line. But there is no doubt that Hershman is an expert of the very short story.
The themes in the collection are nicely cohesive and the voice and narrative structure well varied. I've had the pleasure of reading many of these stories in their individual publication, but reading them all together for a full impression of the author's warm voice and deft descriptions, was even better.
I'm delighted to say, under my real name, that I have read this book and I found it quite wonderful. Tania Hershman is the Queen of Flash Fiction in the UK in my opinion and this second collection of `fictions' after 'The White Road and other stories' doesn't disappoint. A wonderful book to dip into, the stories are poetic and spark the imagination. The power of flash fiction and short stories is to give the reader, in a very small number of words, what he/she needs to picture the characters and the world they live as well as just a story. 'tiny red heart' and 'at camden town he said he loved me' are great examples of this. As a writer of flash fiction, this book sets the standards to which I aspire.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'd read a few of Tania Hershman's flash fiction pieces and short stories published on various websites, and loved her quirky orginality, so I was looking forward to reading a full... Read morePublished on January 21, 2013 by Maree K
I am one of those who endorsed this great collection of contemporary fictions prior to publication, and was delighted to do so. Read morePublished on August 19, 2012 by V. R. Gebbie
A true original, Tania Hershman's collection of Fictions is everything you would expect of a writer who embraces life in all its grand minutia and revels in the discovery of the... Read morePublished on August 18, 2012 by Franky
An entire book containing ramblings. I cannot equate the book description with what I've just read. Read morePublished on August 11, 2012 by twobione