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Piano by Jean Echenoz
In Piano, Max Delmarc is an internationally acclaimed concert pianist, but he suffers from acute stage fright which only alcohol relieves. He lives an inconsequential life, filling his monotonous days with drinking, piano, and pining for Rose, his lost love of thirty years before. Max is mugged and stabbed to death one night and wakens in a hospital, an area of purgatory where he must stay before it's decided whether he'll venture from there to the park (heaven) or the urban zone (hell). He's sure he's lived a good life, despite the alcoholism, but's he's sent to the urban zone anyway. Once back in his beloved Paris, Max finds his eternal damnation there brings new experiences, until he meets Rose and finds his own personal hell. Jean Echenoz's novel has received positive reviews with Scotland on Sunday saying, "In the end, his work is as original and imaginatively compelling as any of those predecessors, and easily as fine as anything else that has been written in the past 30 years."