[Book Review]: The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier by Thad Carhart

Image Source: Goodreads
Book Title: The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier
Author: Thad Carhart
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperback
Source: Purchased
Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir, Music
Year: 2002
Page Count: 268
ISBN: 9780375758621
Find it at: Thad Carhart's Official Website
Add to your Goodreads shelf.
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Goodreads' Blurb:
Walking his two young children to school every morning, Thad Carhart passes an unassuming little storefront in his Paris neighborhood. Intrigued by its simple sign — Desforges Pianos — he enters, only to have his way barred by the shop's imperious owner.
Unable to stifle his curiosity, he finally lands the proper introduction, and a world previously hidden is brought into view. Luc, the atelier's master, proves an indispensable guide to the history and art of the piano. Intertwined with the story of a musical friendship are reflections on how pianos work, their glorious history, and stories of the people who care for them, from amateur pianists to the craftsmen who make the mechanism sing. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank is at once a beguiling portrait of a Paris not found on any map and a tender account of the awakening of a lost childhood passion.

Some of you might still remember all the hype from me on how I really wanted to read this book. And voila! I'm now finished with this baby ;)

So how to put it...

This book is an autobiography of Thad Carhart, using first-person narration from his perspective, recounting on his long lost passion to piano. The book begins when he comes across a unique atelier in his neighborhood and thus tries to enter the place, even though he is unwelcome at first. Then luck is on his side, one of his acquaintances is a customer at the atelier and at the acquaintance's recommendation, he gains the permit to find what cryptics are inside the place.

The book is mainly brought in present, with some flashbacks to Carhart's past on how he first found his interest and love in piano. The writing style of this book is intriguing, thus made me feel like I was not reading a non fiction, but a fiction one. Sometimes the author will put in some antics and joke that will make the readers laugh.

I admit that this book is a little bit tough to read since there are copious musical terms, particularly those pertaining to pianos. But I enjoyed them as it broadened my knowledge on music (I should mention to that I'm a huge fan of music and being able to play piano is one of my unachievable dreams) and I got to learn some French too!

Pour conclure, je l'aime ce livre :P This book also teaches me to never let your deepest passions just go away like that and you don't have to live that passion to become your professional life, instead you can just keep it as your hidden pleasure. That doesn't make you love that thing less than a professional does.

If you are a pianist or have a hidden passion for piano, this book is a must for you to read. Don't miss it!


  1. Sounds like a good one with a nice mix of piano, music and paris. I'll keep it mind.

    1. thanks for the comment, vvb32! it's such a classic mix indeed ;)