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The Pianoplayers

The Pianoplayers

(1986)
A novel by

 
Publisher's Weekly
Burgess's entertaining pen does not flag in this larky exercise in nostalgia. The slim novel is narrated by elderly but still beautiful Ellen Henshaw, born lower-class British but now retired in Provence after a career as an entrepreneurial prostitute. In a lusty, cynical voice, droll with casual obscenities and unwittingly vulgar vernacular, Ellen relates the story of her beloved ''poor old dad.'' A piano player (not a Pianist, she insists) for the old silent movies, Billy Henshaw was a genius before his time, according to Ellen, but drink, womanizing and false pride brought him down; all were responsible for his disastrous decision to take part in a brutal piano marathon. Ellen's rendition of their life in and out of seedy boarding houses, cinemas and music halls in Blackpool and Manchester is littered with malapropisms, the indiscriminate use of capital letters (''It's very hard to get away from Sex and I've never really tried'') and mangled French. There are some inspired set pieces here: an on-stage brawl during a vaudeville performance is broad farce; an account of a trip to Italy is Grand Guignol dark comedy. Burgess's little jokes (he includes a page of sheet music; Ellen reads le Carre for her insomnia, since he's ''a very dull writer who is good for sending you to sleep'') and his fondness for the ''good old days,'' give this novel a palpable charm. (October 22)

Library Journal
In the first half of this fictional memoir Ellen Henshaw recalls her father, a piano player in silent movie houses. With the advent of the talkies the old man's only hope financially was to stage a 30-day nonstop piano marathona fatal mistake. In the second half Ellen describes her career as a teenage prostitute and then her opening a ''school of love'' where wealthy gentlemen learn to play a woman's body like a musical instrument. Burgess's own father was a cinema pianist, and the novel's best parts are those evoking that lost world. Less successful is Ellen's lengthy defense of the Playboy philosophy, which is about as dated as a silent film. Nevertheless, The Pianoplayers is by far the easiest of Burgess's novels to read, and the autobiographical elements alone would make it a worthwhile addition to any collection of his works. Edward B. St. John, Loyola Marymount Univ. Lib., Los Angeles

 
Used availability for Anthony Burgess's The Pianoplayers


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Hardback Editions

January 1986 : USA Hardback
Title: Piano Players
Author(s): Anthony Burgess
ISBN: 0-8488-1332-4 / 978-0-8488-1332-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Amereon Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

November 1989 : UK Hardback
Title: The Piano Players: Complete & Unabridged
Author(s): Anthony Burgess
ISBN: 1-85089-824-3 / 978-1-85089-824-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: ISIS Large Print Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

November 1988 : UK Hardback
Title: Piano Players (Transaction Large Print Books)
Author(s): Anthony Burgess
ISBN: 1-85089-258-X / 978-1-85089-258-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: ISIS Large Print Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

November 1986 : UK Hardback
Title: The Pianoplayers
Author(s): Anthony Burgess
ISBN: 0-09-165190-5 / 978-0-09-165190-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Hutchinson
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 1986 : USA Hardback
Title: The Pianoplayers
Author(s): Anthony Burgess
ISBN: 0-87795-832-7 / 978-0-87795-832-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Arbor House Pub Co
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

October 1987 : USA Paperback
Title: The Pianoplayers
Author(s): Anthony Burgess
ISBN: 0-685-19178-8 / 978-0-685-19178-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

September 1987 : USA Paperback
Title: The Pianoplayers
Author(s): Anthony Burgess
ISBN: 0-671-63792-4 / 978-0-671-63792-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Pocket Books (Mm)
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

January 1987 : UK Paperback
Title: The Pianoplayers
Author(s): Anthony Burgess
ISBN: 0-09-952550-X / 978-0-09-952550-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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