From the author of The Young Widow's Book of Home Improvement
A story about how learning to play the piano shaped the lives of the author and her grandmother, worlds and generations apart. Girls at the Piano is a musical mystery, a personal exploration of the purpose of years of intensive music study, and a tour through the changing relationship between women and the piano over the course of the instrument’s history.
‘I felt pulled toward my grandmother by what little I knew and an urgent desire to find other parallels between our experiences as musical girls. I wanted to explore how our experiences reflected those of other girls drawn from the pages of history and fiction who had sat at the piano over the course of its history. I came to believe that setting aside Alice’s mask of old age might help me to understand my own voyage around the piano – and help me to find my way back.’
‘Staring into the piano’s black mirror was like seeing into the future, glimpsing the girl I would become the girl who could play the piano and understand the world around her through her fingertips, and let her hands speak for her when she could not.’
About the book
Girls at the Piano is a literary tour through my love-hate relationship to the instrument, as a serious piano student during my childhood and adolescence, and investigates the mystery of my musical grandmother Alice, who gave up a blossoming professional life in music in Scotland to migrate to Australia in 1921. It regards the piano from the perspective of some historical and fictional women who sat at the instrument over the course of its history.
Now available in bookstores and online.
Read an extract in The Sydney Morning Herald