Publication Date: April 2004
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Max Delmarc, age fifty, is a famous concert pianist with two problems: the first is a paralyzing stage fright for which the second, alcohol, is the only treatment. In this unparalleled comedy from the Prix Goncourt-winning French novelist Jean Echenoz, we journey with Max, from the trials of his everyday life, through his untimely death, and on into the afterlife.
After a brief stay in purgatory--part luxury hotel, part minimum security prison, under the supervision of deceased celebrities--Max is cast into an alarmingly familiar partition of hell, "the urban zone," a dark and cloudy city much like his native Paris on an eternally bad day. Unable to play his beloved piano or stomach his needed drink, Max engages in a hapless struggle to piece his former life back together while searching in vain for the woman he once loved.
An acclaimed bestseller with 50,000 copies sold in France, "Piano" is a sly, sardonic evocation of Dante and Sartre for the present day, the playful, daring masterpiece of a novelist at the top of his form.