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Girls at the Piano
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Virginia Lloyd
Girls at the Piano by Virginia Lloyd at Abbey's Bookshop,

Girls at the Piano

Virginia Lloyd


Allen & Unwin

Keyboard instruments;


384 pages

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A brilliant memoir about how learning the piano shaped the lives of two women worlds and generations apart that will resonate for music lovers everywhere and for anyone who has tried to master the piano.

Virginia Lloyd spent much of her childhood and adolescence learning and playing the piano and thought she would make a career as a pianist. When that didn't happen, she spent a long time wondering about those years of study: had they been wasted? What was their purpose? This intriguing memoir explores those questions and investigates the mystery of the author's very musical and deeply unhappy grandmother Alice, and how their lives--both at and away from the piano--intersected and diverged.

Girls at the Piano also explores the changing relationship between women and the piano over the course of the instrument's history, taking us from the salons of 18th-century Europe to an amateur jazz workshop in Manhattan in the early 21st century.

Funny, tender and fascinating, Girls at the Piano is an elegant and multi-layered meditation on identity, ambition and doubt, and on how learning the piano had a profound effect on two women worlds and generations apart. It is essential reading for music lovers everywhere, and for anyone who has undertaken their own voyage around a piano.

By:   Virginia Lloyd
Imprint:   Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9781760297770
ISBN 10:   1760297771
Pages:   384
Publication Date:   March 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Virginia Lloyd's first book, also a memoir, was The Young Widow's Book of Home Improvement (UQP 2008). She lives in Sydney and works in publishing.

This journey from self-censoring schoolgirl to something very different feels victorious, and the telling of these neglected and important cultural truths is a brave achievement. --Sydney Morning Herald Exquisite . . . Girls at the Piano is the work of a memoirist who has finely tuned her craft. . . . Lloyd's journey is interwoven with the experiences of girls at the piano through history. . . . This is a beautiful celebration of passionate creativity (whether professional or amateur) and how it can enrich and shape our lives. --Readings This delightful new book is in part a memoir about how learning the piano shaped the lives of two women, worlds and generations apart. The women are the author and her Scottish-born grandmother. The book explores the relationship between those women and the piano, but also that of many piano-playing heroines of countless novels over two centuries. Virginia Lloyd was intrigued initially by Sybella, the pianist heroine of Miles Franklin's My Brilliant Career. She references piano-playing heroines created by Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte, Virginia Woolf, Chekhov and Hardy among others. --Spectator

  • Long-listed for The Nib Literary Award 2018 (Australia)
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