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First Editions Club Presents Chris Cander, The Weight of a Piano
In 1962, in the Soviet Union, eight-year-old Katya is bequeathed what will become the love of her life: a Blüthner piano, built at the turn of the century in Germany, on which she discovers everything that she herself can do with music and what music, in turn, does for her. Yet after marrying, she emigrates with her young family from Russia to America, at her husband's frantic insistence, and her piano is lost in the shuffle.
In 2012, in Bakersfield, California, twenty-six-year-old Clara Lundy loses another boyfriend and again has to find a new apartment, which is complicated by the gift her father had given her for her twelfth birthday, shortly before he and her mother died in a fire that burned their house down: a Blüthner upright she has never learned to play. Orphaned, she was raised by her aunt and uncle, who in his car-repair shop trained her to become a first-rate mechanic, much to the surprise of her subsequent customers. But this work, her true mainstay in a scattered life, is put on hold when her hand gets broken while the piano's being moved--and in sudden frustration she chooses to sell it. And what becomes crucial is who the most interested party turns out to be. . .
Like most writers, Chris Cander was first a reader—of books, of course, but also cereal boxes and shampoo bottles and billboards. Her favorite gift as a kid was a dictionary, which she read from cover to cover. After she published her first poem and won a regional creative writing contest, both at age ten, she knew she’d spend her life pursuing happiness via the written word.
Although she focuses most of her efforts on novel-writing, Chris also writes children’s books and screenplays. For the past seven years, she has been a writer-in-residence for Houston-based Writers in the Schools (WITS), which engages children in the pleasure and power of reading and writing. In addition, she serves on the Inprint advisory board and stewards several Little Free Libraries in her community. Chris well knows that the pen is mightier than the sword, but she’s willing to wield one of those, too. A former fitness competitor and model, she currently holds a 3rd dan in taekwondo and is a certified ICSU Women’s Defensive Tactics Instructor.
Chris is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Author’s Guild, the Writers’ League of Texas, PEN, and MENSA. She lives with her husband and children in Houston, Texas.
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