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Piano Music for Four Hands Hardcover – April 1, 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Piano for Four Hands, a slim fiction by novelist and critic Roger Grenier, tells the story of aging, melancholy pianist Michel Mailhoc, who disdains worldly pleasures after a series of failed love affairs, and retreats to his family home in the Pyrenees. His only delight is his grand-niece, Emma, whom he trains to reap the accolades he scorned. Translated from the French by Alice Kaplan, a superb writer in her own right, the novel blossoms into delicate life, chronicling the illusions and disillusions of an existence devoted to art.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Grenier, the author of over 30 books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Difficulty of Being a Dog (LJ 12/00), has spun a melancholy tale that captures the pathos of music but not its grandeur. Michel Mailhoc, descendant of the scorned Cagots (once treated as "untouchables") of southwestern France, is a talented pianist who studies as a child with the flamboyant and celebrated Nicolau Arderiu and then imitates his mentor by engaging in a trail of listless affairs and eventually withdrawing from the stage. He ends up teaching his grand-niece Emma, who goes on to become a famed concert pianist, though her success brings some pain for them both she is almost undone by stage fright, and he is saddened whenever she departs on tour. "Has his art of the piano been nothing but an instrument of seduction," muses Michel at one point, and the answer, alas, seems to be yes. Grenier writes in a dry, autumnal style that breathes the hopelessness of aborted love but not the passion that a single fine phrase of Beethoven can inspire. For comprehensive collections of French literature. Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 153 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803221819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803221819
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,430,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By lvkleydorff on February 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Partita
"Partita" is the title of the French original. It is the life story of Michel Mailhoc who, at age five, became the student of the well-known pianist Nicolau Anderiu. The boy has great talent and grows up to be a very good pianist indeed. But life?s cards are stacked against him. His teacher leaves him, and Michel flounders. From important concerts he sinks to playing in a piano bar and finally gives up playing altogether. He now tries to compose, but cannot get it together. The many women in his life leave him because there is nothing to him beyond the piano.
In his middle age, he becomes the tutor to his grand-niece Emma, also age five. She is a true genius and, as she grows up, easily outgrows him and leaves on her own career. He is now left behind, alone with his dog, in his old house.
It is a somewhat sad and melancholy story, rather typical for a French writer and perhaps too slow and morose for our tastes.
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