Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Il pianista di Yarmouk” as Want to Read:
Il pianista di Yarmouk
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Il pianista di Yarmouk

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  267 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Un giovane suona il pianoforte in mezzo a una strada bombardata. Suona per i suoi vicini, soprattutto per i bambini, per distrarli dalle atrocità della guerra: un’immagine che ha fatto il giro del mondo diventando un simbolo della catastrofe in Siria, ma anche dell’inestinguibile volontà dell’uomo di opporsi in ogni modo alla distruzione. Il suono di quello strumento ha ra ...more
Paperback, Le polene
Published April 5th 2018 by La Nave di Teseo
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Il pianista di Yarmouk, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Il pianista di Yarmouk

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  267 ratings  ·  72 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Lou
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If there's ever been a book that illustrates the immense power of music then this is it. What drew me to it, in particular, was the fact that I can personally attest to the strength and courage it can bring to your life, and I feel as though I may not have got this far through the chronic pain conditions I have without this power. One of my favourite writers and philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche once said: "Without music, life would be a mistake", and I believe that to be absolutely true.

Syrian-P
...more
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
"I'm a pianist, not a political activist. My revolution is music. My language is music. Music was going to be my form of protest, even if no one heard me."

What a stunning memoir. Aeham Ahmad, a second generation refugee whose parents fled from the Israeli-Pakistan conflict, finds himself in the Syrian conflict. With only the power of his music as a weapon for peace, he fearlessly takes to the streets to play his piano as his own form of protest. I found this story to be captivating, painful, and
...more
Kate Baxter
This autobiography of a brave and courageous young man - a striving musician - a man of tremendous compassion and conviction, is food for the soul. For years, our news sources have affronted us with visions of war-torn Syria to which, for the most part, we've become inured. This amazing and heart-wrenching story is a wake-up call to those of us far from the horror and pain of the Syrian conflict. It gives voice to the trials, struggles, sorrow and fear of the refugee people trapped in the war-zo ...more
Andrew Howdle
Without a doubt, this is a story of immense courage and great humanity. The conflicts within this autobiography, war versus peace, ignorance against wisdom, tolerance rather than bigotry, ought to have made it into a compelling read. Unfortunately, the writing does not match the themes explored. There are moment when telling friendships emerge and stories leap into life-- such as the visit to Mount Qasioun where Assad had one of his villas and piano tuning session turns into absolute terror-- bu ...more
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

The Pianist Of Yarmouk is the second memoir I have read in the past year that profoundly illustrates the desperate situation being fled by Syrian refugees and displaced persons. Perhaps this book didn't have quite the emotional impact of the previous memoir, Butterfly by Yusra Mardini, but it is still a powerful and moving account. Ahmad talks of his childhood, growing up primarily under the care of his blind Palestinian refugee father who wa
...more
Laura
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Wanda
From BBC Radio 4: Book of the week:
Ammar Haj Ahmad reads Aeham Ahmad’s dramatic account of how he risked his life under siege in Damascus by defying the Syrian regime with his music.

Newly married with a young baby, living in a comfortable Damascus suburb and working as a music teacher, Aeham’s life is turned upside down by the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2012.

When they are bombed out of their apartment, Aeham and his family take refuge in their music shop in the ramshackle district of Ya
...more
Karyl
We keep hearing about Syria on the news. Yet another bombing, yet more destruction, yet more refugees. I fear that Americans have become a bit too inured to the devastation of this once-vibrant country. The Pianist from Syria brings to vivid life the terror and hardship of living in a war zone, and it’s even more devastating when you realize that Ahmad’s parents fled Palestine as refugees and settled in Syria to give their sons a better life.

This is truly a book of music triumphing over all. It
...more
Nora Westgeest
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Upon finishing this book, I burst into tears. Aeham's autobiographical story is a story loaded with loss: from friends and family to the encapsulating loss of one's country as a Palestinian/Syrian refugee. His anecdotes throughout strike a chord and release emotional turbulence.
I think that it is impossible to genuinely understand the totality of someone's mental state, especially from a "Western privileged " point of view on the horrific situation that so many refugees confront. However, Aeham
...more
Wanda
Mar 22, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Laura
Shelves: bbc, audiobooks, 2019
22 MAR 2019 - a recommendation through Dear Laura. Many Thanks!

Listen here - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000...
Katie Peach
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, syria
“We began by pushing the piano out into a world of ruins, into the rubble of Yarmouk...Music was going to be my form of protest, even if no one heard me.”

Aeham Ahmad grew up around music in Syria. His blind father pushed him to become a great piano player and they eventually opened a music store together in Yarmouk and also taught music lessons. Aeham and his family lived a fairly happy life and Aeham was clearly going to have a great career in music.

Then the Syrian conflict broke out. Aeham, hi
...more
Deb M.
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another book I wish more Americans would read to give an understanding of what people endure in other parts of the world. When Aeham begins the book Syria is still at peace but the area Aeham lives in began as a Palestinian refugee camp. He describes the life of his family and the bottom line is that life is not as terrible as it will become. As the rebellion begins in Syria those areas that are not populated by Syrians are targeted by Assad. One by one the areas are blockaded and the pe ...more
Suad D
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christopher
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This stirring memoir recounts the story of Aeham Ahmad's life in and escape from Syria. Known for his YouTube videos of him
playing a piano in the bombed-out streets of Syria, his message and plea for the people of Syria is powerful and touching. So glad I read this wonderful book. Highly recommend.
Lorri
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Pianist from Syria: A Memoir is filled with happiness, sadness, insightfulness, and is inspiring, on many levels.
Jade
I can’t stop thinking about this book, about Aeham, his family, and Syria in general. I have made it my goal to read as many personal narratives from different voices in Syria, so when I read about Aeham Ahmad’s upcoming memoir The Pianist From Syria, I jumped on it. It’s beautifully written, so vivid and clear, and you fall in love with Aeham and his family, and also in love with Yarmouk, their home.

The first half of the book describes Aeham’s youth, growing up in the area of Yarmouk in Damasc
...more
Mike Steinharter
This is quite a story; surprised i never heard of the pianist of Yarmouth before. For the love of his music.
Deb
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about the author from his refugee childhood in Syria, marriage, children and escape to Germany. Ahmad becomes an accomplished pianist through relentless encouragement of his blind father. Music and instruments are core to his family and livelihood. The primary setting is in Yarmouk, one of the most vibrant and crowded neighborhoods of Damascus. A history of the political uprising in Syria and insight into life in Yarmouk “being sealed off”, as the uprising progressed: starvation, ...more
Deb
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about the author from his refugee childhood in Syria, marriage, children and escape to Germany. Ahmad becomes an accomplished pianist through relentless encouragement of his blind father. Music and instruments are core to his family and livelihood. The primary setting is in Yarmouk, one of the most vibrant and crowded neighborhoods of Damascus. A history of the political uprising in Syria and insight into life in Yarmouk “being sealed off”, as the uprising progressed: starvation, ...more
Nancy
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While reading this book, you will learn two things. You will gain an understanding of the terrible civil war that has plagued Syria for 8 years. It is the backdrop of an amazing life story of this musician and his family. You will read of struggles and an amazing drive to live and keep a family together. It is a story of how music keeps people alive. It is an amazing book.
Rose
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Pianist from Syria by Aeham Ahmad is a tragic and beautiful memoir. It really opens your eyes to the conflict in Syria and the hardships they face. Truly eye opening.

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
Lclermont
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I save my 5 star ratings for books I would read again. If you read it, be sure to check out the Spotify and YouTube references.
Jim
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won an advanced copy of this book on Goodreads. A gripping read, full of heart and emotion. Usually I find memoirs of one's childhood a bit tedious to read and can't wait until I get to the author's adulthood but not this time. I kept wanting more. A sad yet hopeful memoir about war torn Syria from a Palestinian man who ultimately becomes a refugee in Germany. The book is filled with the struggles of a musician and his family, describing his hardship with starvation and protecting one's family ...more
May
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I give The Pianist From Syria by Aeham Ahmad 5 stars. This book really challenged me and rocked me to my core. I’ve been mostly ignorant of things going on in Syria, and this really opened my eyes. This story of his childhood and family and war is really important and relevant to gain more understanding of what people go through. This was a hard story to read, but it will be sticking with me for a long time.
Kathie Kuehl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth
Aeham Ahmad is a Palestinian whose refugee family immigrated into Syria at the end of the Israeli 1948 War. Aeham was born in Syria, in Yarmouk, the refugee camp suburb of Damascus. He was found to be gifted in music as a young boy by his blind father - an oud maker with perfect pitch, and his mother a vocalist. He was accepted into and attended the prestigious State School of Music in Damascus. While young, he wasn't terribly interested in music, but he kept with it in order to stay in a good s ...more
Sue
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the true and staggering story of Aeham Ahmad, a music teacher, songwriter and musician, who lived for years in the suburb of Yarmouk in Damascus, while the area was under siege during the war.

Ahmad is a Palestinian refugee whose hopes for a better world in Syria were severely dashed by the ongoing war in Syria. Everything he knows is shattered, and he finds consolation in music.

But what a story of courage and persistence in the face of horror and death. The music that Ahmad brings to the
...more
Merle
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually this book is almost amazing...5 stars! The Pianist of Syria is a memoir written by Aeham Ahmad. It is a story of growing up in a refugee camp in Syria. Aeham is a second generation Palestinian growing up in a suburb outside Damascus. Ahmad describes the difficulty of living as a Palestinian in Syria, writing about how beginning in July 2013 the refugee camp of Yarmouk was without electricity or hot water, then Syrian tanks role through Yarmouk.
Appalled at the carnage around him, he say
...more
Bart Van Loon
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: at-home, fiction
Of course, zooming in from the generic tragedies of a war to the personal horrors of one man inside it is guaranteed to have great effect. However, I was even more taken aback by this account than I expected to be.

I visited Syria. Before the war started, but still during many of the events described in the book. Moreover, I play the piano every single day since the age of eight. These two things bring the events of this book really close and made me devour the book cover to cover in less than 24
...more
Sally
This is an interesting story but it left me with lots of questions. I just didn't understand the justification for a lot of the decisions made (probably due in part to language and cultural barriers). I take it this has been ghost-written in German because the author was not fluent enough, and then translated into English, so it's really the result of a game of telephone at this point.

Example: I constantly choose to eat red lentils in a basic soup or dal, so I really don't get why bags of healt
...more
Paula
This was presented in 5, 15-minute segments. It was really interesting, but it focused on how he and his family preserved themselves, and briefly went through his escape efforts, but did not much go into the importance of the music. From the summary, presumably that is what makes this story unique and what made his survival important. I'd like to read this, but not to the extent that I'd track it down.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • My Life in Doha: Between Dream and Reality
  • A Thousand Farewells
  • Neither East Nor West: One Woman's Journey Through the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut
  • What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist who Tried to Kill Your Wife?: A Memoir
  • Zen Under Fire: How I Found Peace in the Midst of War
  • A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War
  • My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran
  • Der Reisende
  • Arnes Nachlaß
  • Under an Afghan Sky: A Memoir of Captivity
  • Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian - My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumph
  • Morten (De Morten Trilogie #1)
  • Vänd dig inte om
  • Fidali's Way
  • The Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan
  • Sole Survivor: A Story of Record Endurance at Sea
  • Between Gods: A Memoir
See similar books…
6 followers
Aeham Ahmad – born in Damascus in the year 1988 – belongs to the Palestinian minority in Syria and lived with his family until 2015 in the refugee camp Yarmouk, to where in 1948 his grandfather fled from Palestine. His musical talent was supported from early years, at the age of five his father taught him to play the piano. At the age of 23 he graduated from the conservatorium in Damascus and Homs ...more