When Helene Giroux arrives in the small coastal village of Saint Homais in Nova Scotia, her presence is instantly the talk of the town. As she settles in and begins working as the church pianist, the local people begin to accept her — until the police begin asking questions about her mysterious past.
By turns charming and suspenseful, The Piano Maker is a deftly written historical novel that spans two continents — from World War I France to post-war Canada — and grapples with questions of violence, mercy, and sacrifice.
“In the thin white light from the sky and the yellow from the streetlamps she crossed the square to the church and at the side entrance used the key the priest had given her. She stepped inside. So quiet and dark at this hour. Only the eternal flame by the altar and the street-side windows gave some light. She found her way to a front pew and sat there with her hands in her coat pockets. She looked at the piano, at the fine shape of it, the classic footed legs and the delicate prop stick, and in her mind she could see each part of it, the cabinet pieces still raw from the milling floor, the key-board and its nerve endings, the fine soundboard with the bridge applied. The harp so heavy it took two men to raise it and four to set it in its lockpoints.”
Kurt Palka is a novelist whose books include The Piano Maker and Clara. He currently lives in Ontario.
Length: 288 pages
Primary Setting: Nova Scotia, Canada
Secondary Setting: Montmagny, France
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