The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka


The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka
Received: Goodreads giveaway
Publication Date: December 29, 2015
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
3/5 stars

The Piano Maker is a Canadian book, set in small town Nova Scotia after World War I, and the story is told through several flashbacks. The title character is a French widow who appears to be running away from a mysterious past. All of the exciting parts take place in the flashbacks, while the parts that are set in Nova Scotia mostly just focus on how cold it is outside and how she needs new winter boots. (Oh so Canadian)

I found this book really slow moving. I could tell that the plot was headed somewhere exciting – an author doesn’t so obviously avoid telling you something important about a character’s past unless they are building up to something important – but it just took forever to get there. I was committing to finishing it, however, and by the time I got about two thirds of the way through the novel the plot really picked up (and I was so invested by that point that I really just wanted to know what in the name of Steve was the big huge secret).

The flashbacks were by far the most intriguing part of the novel, and I found myself kind of skipping through the other parts just to get to the flashbacks (I know that’s terrible and I shouldn’t do it but it’s what happened stop judging me ok). I actually think that I would have really enjoyed the story if it was told in chronological order up until the end of the final flashback. And if the whole small-town Nova Scotia portion had just been left out. Which is kind of sad, because I do enjoy small town stories (I absolutely love Anne of Green Gables and all of the Avonlea folk), but I just did not find this one compelling.

**A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that the book was set in Quebec, rather than Nova Scotia**


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