Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Upright Piano Player by David Abbott: Book Review

Do you think someone in their late 50's or early 60's is elderly? Keep in mind that I'm 54 when you answer this loaded question.

Here's why I ask.

I'm reading reviews for this book that describe the lead character as "old." It caused me pause and I looked in the mirror. I'm just a few years younger than Henry who is the protagonist in The Upright Piano Player. And I have gray hair too, but damn I feel young. Others may not think so at first glance.

There are many generations in this book but the central characters are prime time. I was hooked immediately. The book could have been a melodramatic soap opera with its many tragedies, instead it became a rich character study for me and contemporary British writing at its best.

Henry's world is turned upside down when he's asked to leave the company he founded. Through flashbacks we learn about Henry while watching him chart his present course. The author moves brilliantly between time periods with ease, even if his characters do not.

We see people close to Henry die. Torn relationships over the past are worked through. Henry becomes a victim and stalked by someone much younger. He's sometimes understood but not always.

I'm reminded that 50 plus looks old when you're young, but once you've arrived at this point in your life it doesn't feel that long ago when looking back. Scary, huh?

I left a comment on Dan's Journal and received a complimentary copy of this book. 

The Upright Piano Player by David Abbott was first published in Great Britain in 2010; my version is the first American edition by Doubleday. ISBN 9780385534420, 264 pages.


  1. I am 56 years old and certainly do not feel old! creaky at times but not old!!!

  2. I just met someone who is 51 and he's like a 30 years old. It's about how you feel at heart and what you want to make out of your life. (You surely don't look 54)


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