In her third novel, The Weight of a Piano, Chris Cander proves herself a masterful, almost musical handler of volume and emphasis in words, knowing when to write a scene in a voice big and booming, and when to allow her approach to grow quieter ... The reader is left to contemplate loss and legacy, the novel’s notions of 'poetry and color and imagination' lingering like the notes of a distant song.
The late-in-the-novel revelation of how Katya’s piano travels from Khrushchev’s Russia to sunny California is ably and convincingly told ... As interesting as these women’s stories are, Clara’s stagnates at times ... The details involved with hauling, loading and unloading it from the truck, adjusting tire inflation and continually lifting the piano onto a dolly is as exhausting for the characters as it is tedious for the reader ... But Cander... has a gift for offering readers access to unique experiences ... Cander’s poetic description of Blüthner knocking on the trees with his walking stick and pressing his ear against them... reminds us how little we wonder about the provenance of the handmade and manufactured goods we consume and discard. She conveys her characters’ emotions in equally lyrical ways ... [Katya and Clara's] journeys to enlightenment, as well as the Blüthner’s transcontinental travels, make this a worthy novel despite the story’s occasional sluggishness.
A charming, puzzling plot that gets more exciting and addictive the deeper you sink into it ... ruminates on the gravity held by the objects in our lives ... Short chapters help the braided plot to avoid becoming overwhelming, and the novel is well-researched, from the Cyrillic script to the exquisitely bleak 'sailing stones' in Death Valley. This reviewer just happened to be, in a past life, a piano tuner, and Cander’s unadorned prose composes some truly beautiful descriptions of the joy of music.