The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart
Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier

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Thad Carhart never realized there was a gap in his life until he happened upon Desforges Pianos, a demure little shopfront in his Pairs neighborhood that seemed to want to hide rather than advertise its wares. Like Alice in Wonderland, he found his attempts to gain entry rebuffed at every turn. An accidental introduction finally opened the door to the quartier’s oddest hangout, where locals — from university professors to pipefitters — gather on Friday evenings to discuss music, love, and life over a glass of wine.

Luc, the atelier’s master, proves an excellent guide to the history of this most gloriously impractical of instruments. A bewildering variety passes through his restorer’s hands: delicate ancient pianofortes, one perhaps the onetime possession of Beethoven. Great hulking beasts of thunderous voice. And the modest piano “with the heart of a lion” that was to become Thad’s own.

What emerges is a warm and intuitive portrait of the secret Paris — one closed to all but a knowing few. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank is the perfect book for music lovers, or for anyone who longs to recapture a lost passion.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Thad Carhart

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Thad Carhart has lives in France for much of his life. He was educated at Yale and Stanford and has worked as an events coordinator in the music industry and as communications head of Apple Compter's European division. A freelance writer and consultant, he lives in Paris with his wife, Simo, and their two children.
Published June 12, 2001 by Random House. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Arts & Photography, Travel. Non-fiction

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Of course, no piano story would be complete without teachers both sweet and terrifying, and the appearance of instructors Miss Pemberton, Madame Gaillard, and Anna round out Carhart’s ode to the piano with rough and tender edges of humanity.

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The New York Times

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Although taken aback by Luc's certainty that this piano is the perfect instrument for him, Carhart comes to appreciate the Stingl, a plucky Cinderella of a piano with a sweet, full tone.

Jun 10 2001 | Read Full Review of The Piano Shop on the Left Ba...

The Guardian

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Carhart's book is the story of his relationship with Luc, the piano restorer whose craftsmanship and love for his instruments seems to belong to another century, and with the curious assortment of people who, like initiates of a secret cult, are allowed into Luc's workshop to share their passion ...

Aug 20 2000 | Read Full Review of The Piano Shop on the Left Ba...

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