Hammerklavier

Yasmina Reza

translated from the French by Carol Cosman
Faber & Faber 2000
A book review by Danny Yee © 2009 http://dannyreviews.com/
Hammerklavier consists of some forty brief vignettes, mostly told by the narrator in the first person and apparently autobiographical. They deal with death and mortality, music and literature, memory, and the other links that bind the narrator to her friends and family — her father's reverence for Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" provides the title.

Reza's style is simple and unadorned and she uses dialogue to good effect, as one might expect from a notable playwright. She approaches philosophical ideas through concrete, sharply delineated events, objects, and words.

Each of the vignettes, though short, is a complete story in itself, which makes for easy reading. And, though they are not ordered chronologically and are only loosely connected, they work together to produce a pointillist self-portrait. Hammerklavier is a slender but powerful novel.

June 2009

External links:
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
Related reviews:
- more French literature
%T Hammerklavier
%A Reza, Yasmina
%M French
%F Cosman, Carol
%I Faber & Faber
%D 2000 [1997]
%O paperback
%G ISBN 057120032X
%P 114pp