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The Upright Piano Player    by David Abbott order for
Upright Piano Player
by David Abbott
Order:  USA  Can
Anchor, 2012 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Carrol Wolverton

When the Upright Go Wrong ...

Harry Cage founded his own company and made it successful. When his wife cheats on him, he throws her out and severs ties. Successful and self-righteous, he knows right from wrong and lives accordingly.

Somewhere along the way, life goes very wrong. Ousted from his own company in a corporate coup, Harry realizes he's left with a wall of paper awards and mementoes of achievement with no substance. His indomitable self-confidence fails as a stalker terrorizes him. The old Harry is a shaken man once his company is gone.

The book begins with a horrific death that doesn't occur until after the novel ends. Not much positive happens preceding this tragedy. Harry finds out he has a four-year-old grandson he didn't even know existed. He visits his ex-wife only to learn she is skeletal. Even now, she clearly loves him. At one point he walks into the ocean his wife loved, and the reader suspects that he might not come out, but he does this time.

Literary and precise in his writing, the author weaves a zigzag saga of misfortune for the self-centered Harry. Sadly, his decisions and choices haunt him to the end. The reader is left wondering if this upright piano player will walk back into that ocean, Virginia Wolf fashion, when the last disaster strikes. The tale reminds me of the biblical injunction that you must lose your life to find it. I'm not sure Harry ever does.

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