David Abbott's first novel, The Upright Piano Player, brings to mind some wonderful comparisons. It reminds me of a Cezanne painting. Each character and each event is a like a perfectly applied brushstroke--critical to the whole and so perfect that you can't imagine changing one thing. It also reminds me of Pulp Fiction. Not the violence, which is mild, but the structure, the editing and yes, the end. And it does remind me and will certainly be compared to the work of Ian McEwan. The comparison is fair and favorable. The Upright Piano Player is a fantastic novel brimming with tragedy, menace, and love (lost, found and newly discovered) in the life of one lonely man. It reminds me of some wonderful things and yet I've never read anything quite like it. — Stan Hynds
“As he faces retirement, Henry Cage finds his life spiraling out of control. He must deal with an ailing ex-wife, an estranged son, and a malicious stalker who is prone to violence. This first novel is both a page-turner and a disconcerting portrayal of the randomness of life and the choices we make. Strangely uplifting, The Upright Piano Player is guaranteed to keep you riveted.”
— Jack Gillard, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI
Henry Cage seems to have it all: a successful career, money, a beautiful home, and a reputation for being a just and principled man. But public virtues can conceal private failings, and as Henry faces retirement, his well-ordered life begins to unravel. His ex-wife is ill, his relationship with his son is strained to the point of estrangement, and on the eve of the new millennium he is the victim of a random violent act which soon escalates into a prolonged and mysterious harassment. Who is doing this? And why?
Full of exceptional grace and emotional power, The Upright Piano Player is a wise and acutely observed novel about the myriad ways in which life tests us—no matter how carefully we have constructed our own little fortresses.
“[A] gripping novel, a reminder of how little control we have over our lives.” —Los Angeles Times
“Wise and moving. . . . An accomplished novel of quiet depths and resonant shadows.” —John Burnham Schwartz, author of The Commoner
“Stirring. . . . Abbott has created a memorable book, and readers will ache along with the principal characters.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Gracefully constructed and wholly consuming.” —Associated Press
“Elegant, rich, and gratifying.” —The Independent (London)
“The menace simmering beneath the surface of [The Upright Piano Player’s] prose is compelling.” —Daily Mail
“A powerful and well-written portrayal of loss and grieving.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“A concise, haunting work, a short, brilliantly observed novel. . . . Fluid and elegiac, filled with somber, serious tones, the author’s writing is reminiscent of the great Ian McEwan.” —Curled Up With a Good Book
“Masterful.” —The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
“A beautifully constructed debut.” —The Guardian (London)