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The Lost Pianos of Siberia

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Siberias story is traditionally one of exiles, penal colonies and unmarked graves. Yet there is another tale to tell.

Dotted throughout this remote land are pianos grand instruments created during the boom years of the nineteenth century, and humble, Soviet-made uprights that found their way into equally modest homes. They tell the story of how, ever since entering Russian
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published February 6th 2020 by Doubleday
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Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

There is something about Siberia that does stir the imagination. The ice, the snow, the tigers all of the above, you know. Perhaps it is the survival of people who survive in such a place. Roberts book, despite its title is more about Siberia than about pianos. But that is okay.

The book is framed by the idea of quest for a piano, though at times it is very easy to forget that this quest. While the book does discuss the lost pianos, the book details more the
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
(3.5) RTC.

Roberts is a travel writer whose work has been published in the FT and in Condé Nast Traveler; this is her first book, and takes the form of a quest. On her travels, she has met a world-class pianist in, all of places, the Mongolian steppe, but this musician lacks an instrument equal to her powers. Roberts determines to find her one, and to do so by looking in Siberia, generally known as a land of unforgiving conditions, prison camps, black bread, greasy soup, exile, and misery. But
Jonathan Slaght
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely intoxicating. Such vivid detail, rich atmosphere, and heartbreak. Some cherished and some neglected, these pianos tell of the musical colonization of a continent, and their stories sing.
Nov 05, 2019 added it
For fans of the Hare with the Amber Eyes
Ian Smith
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review by Ian Smith
What could this book really be about I wondered. Surprisingly, its about the lost pianos of Siberia BUT, if you think it wouldnt interest you, think again.
There are things Ive learnt about Sophy reading this work (a) Shes an accomplished pianist, (b) She is seriously interested in historic pianos, (c) She is a much researched historian (there are 80 pages of bibliography and such at the back) (d) She has a wonderful turn of phrase.
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a quirky, beautifully written book full of wonderful descriptions of the landscape, plants, animals and people who populate Siberia, and a fascinating history of the whole vast region, not only of the spread of the piano within it. It is well-illustrated with photographs and maps, including an attractive old map across the cover pasteboards and endpapers of the book itself.

For those wishing to explore the history, geography and/ or society of Siberia further, there is a comprehensive
Sarah Simms
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Generally I only read travel literature if Im journeying there and want to know more about the history or culture that I might have missed. Ive never been to Russia - nor have any particular plans to head Siberia-wards. But I heard Sophy speak about her book and was compelled to buy it. Now I feel almost evangelistic about it - it is extraordinary. The depth of her research, the beauty with which she conjures images of her travels and people she meets, the way in which she amalgamates her piano ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Original, absorbing, wide-ranging and entertaining. A must-read for any Russophile. I love these byways of history, the stories you never expect, could never even imagine. A detective tale, a travelogue, a cultural history, all brought together in one satisfying whole due to one womans obsession with pianos and discovering them in Siberia. With many historic and contemporary photographs enhancing the text, this is a well-written account, quirky and often moving, with a comprehensive ...more
Dec 16, 2019 marked it as to-buy
Recommended by editor 2019 picks
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Goodreads Librari...: The Lost Pianos of Siberia - Audiobook 2 16 Feb 27, 2020 04:07AM  

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