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The Lost Pianos of Siberia

Sophy Roberts

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Doubleday
04 February 2020
Keyboard instruments; Social & cultural history; Travel & holiday; Travel writing
Siberia's story is traditionally one of exiles, penal colonies and unmarked graves. Yet there is another tale to tell.

Dotted throughout this remote land are pianos - grand instruments created during the boom years of the Nineteenth Century, and humble, Soviet-made uprights that found their way into equally modest homes. They tell the story of how, ever since entering Russian culture under the influence of Catherine the Great, piano music has run through the country like blood.

How these pianos travelled into this snow-bound wilderness in the first place is testament to noble acts of fortitude by governors, adventurers and exiles. That stately instruments might still exist in such a hostile landscape is remarkable. That they are still capable of making music in far-flung villages is nothing less than a miracle.

But this is Siberia, where people can endure the worst of the world - and where music reveals a deep humanity in the last place on earth you would expect to find it.
By:   Sophy Roberts
Imprint:   Doubleday
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 31mm
Weight:   577g
ISBN:   9780857524959
ISBN 10:   085752495X
Pages:   384
Publication Date:   04 February 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Sophy Roberts is a British writer whose work focuses on the wild places from Papua New Guinea to the Congo. She began her career assisting the writer Jessica Mitford, and trained in journalism at Columbia University in New York. She regularly contributes to the Financial Times and the US edition of Conde Nast Traveler, among others. The Lost Pianos of Siberia is her first book.

Reviews for The Lost Pianos of Siberia

This is an amazing journey, the ultimate quest for the oddest objects - pianos - in the most unlikely place - Siberia. But Sophy Roberts makes it much more than that, an elegant and nuanced journey through literature, through history, through music, murder and incarceration and revolution, through snow and ice and remoteness, to discover the human face of Siberia. I loved this book. * Paul Theroux * Utterly fascinating and revealing to anyone who only knows Siberia through its Great Myth as a forgotten, frozen Nowhere. * Christopher Somerville * A thrilling adventure to the ends of the earth, where sunlight glitters in the snowdrifts and the strains of the exile's song floats through the air. Pack your suitcases for Siberia - Sophy Roberts' gorgeous prose will summon you there like a smell. * Cal Flyn (author of THICKER THAN WATER) * Absolutely intoxicating. Such vivid detail, rich atmosphere, heartbreak, and elegance. Sophy Roberts melds research and personal experience to trace the paths of political prisoners, convicts, and conscripts determined to find beauty in exile, and track down the regal pianos now scattered in villages, museums, and storehouses across the largest country on earth. Some cherished and some neglected, these pianos tell of the musical colonization of a continent, and their stories sing. * Jonathan C. Slaght (author of OWLS OF THE EASTERN ICE) * Romance and tragedy, gulags and tower blocks, princes and oligarchs and of course tigers and pianos, Roberts captures all the wonder and heartbreak of an entire Empire in one feast of a book. * Ben Rawlence (author of CITY OF THORNS and RADIO CONGO) *


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