Set in the working-class district of Benfica in Lisbon, "The Piano Cemetery" tells the story of a family, and especially of the hopes and fears of the fathers who pass the baton of the generations on to their sons. The Lazaro family are cabinet-makers who would rather be piano-makers. They have a carpentry shop in the Benfica district of Lisbon and there at the back is the 'piano cemetery' piled high with broken-down pianos that provide the spare parts needed for repairing pianos all over the city. It is a mysterious and magical place, a place of solace, a dreaming place and, above all, a trysting place for lovers. "The Piano Cemetery" is a wonderfully accomplished novel in which the true story of the Portuguese marathon-runner, Francisco Lazaro, is woven into a rich narrative of love, betrayal, domestic happiness and dashed hopes. Narrated in part by the father of Francisco Lazaro on the day his grandson is born and the day he himself dies and in part by his son as he runs the Stockholm marathon of 1908, remembering his family and his loves as he struggles against the heat and strives to outrun death itself. It is a beautifully constructed tale, that is by turns, violent and tender, funny and moving, with flashes of true insight, startling imagery and an instinctive understanding of families and their ways. "The Piano Cemetery" establishes Jose Luis Peixoto not only as the leading Portuguese novelist of his generation, but as a major figure on the international literary scene.
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Jose Luis Peixoto was born in 1974 in Galveias, Portalegre, in Portugal's Alentejo region. A journalist, novelist, poet, dramatist, literary critic and teacher of languages and contemporary literature, he is also a heavy metal fan and produced a book and record called The Antidote with the Gothic band Moonspell. His work is published and acclaimed in many languages and has won major prizes in Portugal and Brazil, including the Jose Saramago Prize in 2001 for Blank Gaze. Daniel Hahn is a translator of fiction and non-fiction, mainly from Portuguese. His translation of The Book of Chameleons by Angolan novelist Jose Eduardo Agualusa won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2007.Review:
Praise for 'Blank Gaze' 'Peixoto is one of the most surprising revelations in recent Portuguese literature. I have no doubts that he is the safe promise of a great writer' Jose Saramago 'An impressive and unusual feat ... Intensely beautiful writing packed with startling and memorable images ... his bold, incantatory prose is consistently beautiful - apparently simple but also incredibly rich and resonant' Independent 'Brilliantly rendered ... Peixoto's ironic sensibility shines through beautifully' James Robertson
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