Lost Pianos of Siberia, The

Roberts, Sophy

  19 Reviews

Russia has Catherine the Great to thank for its love affair with the piano, and centuries down the track, journalist Sophy Roberts discovers just what a significant role the piano has, and continues to play, in Russian life and culture. On the lookout for a suitable piano for a friend, her quest ultimately has her criss-crossing Siberia, tracing the history and whereabouts of the many pianos and their owners that made their way to this region of exile and imprisonment.

With its fascinating encounters with these people and their pianos, and journeys through the vast reaches of Siberia, this is an entertaining and intriguing story about one of the most remote places on earth.



A few found it hard to get into, but perseverance paid off and we all enjoyed this book.
AUCK 166
A surprising and absorbing read on an unusual topic. Beautifully written, erudite and intellectual. Helped everyone to better understand the size and scale of Siberia - historically, culturally, and environmentally. Maps and photos were very interesting.
Memorable. So well researched and beautifully written.
WELL 100
The group liked the writing, the descriptions, the history and the geography. They were fascinated by the story of pianos in Siberia.
CHCH 389
We all found this a most interesting book. Well-written, and we found the maps most useful as a guide to this huge area.
The Lost Pianos is not a book for everyone, but most of us found it fascinating as well as demanding. It is a great way to be reminded of, or to learn about Russian history and the appalling suffering of those exiled to Siberia. Sophy Roberts also delights in the beauty of Siberia and the many interesting people she engaged with in her search. The book is very well-written and repays the effort of reading.
AUCK 065
An amazing book, we loved it. We had maps out to explore Siberia, a country none of us had ever been interested in. One member even had her grandson helping her to find the towns on Google maps. A really enriching book for us all and one we will never forget.
A slowly developing read. Siberia really grows on you if you let it, and finish reading this.
NAP 023
A great read! Wonderfully enlightening historical perspective of Russian history. Highly recommended.
CHCH 001
The group rated this book very highly. All agreed it was amazing to learn so much about the effect of the pianos on the people who were living in such harsh conditions. If anything - some found it had too much information!
AUCK 443
Sophy Roberts' historian-reporter style amazed us with its dense, numerous historical facts and related stories, beautiful writing passages, and inclusion of thoughtful quotes gleaned from her interviewees. It was deeply absorbing, although the prevalence of references to the cruel suffering of gulag prisoners was disturbing. Her travel descriptions were as inspiring as the many unique people she met. Any pianist would be intrigued with references to several mentioned composers, and their environmental influences in the composition of various pieces...
Most of us found Roberts' quest to find pianos in the vastness of Siberia, fascinating. The history, the characters, and her journeys are intriguing. Some felt a shorter book would have sufficed!
Well-written, topical, and an excellent insight into the history, geography and culture of this part of the world.
MAST 005
Very ambitious first book by Sophy Roberts. Her writing was very descriptive and detailed with many facts. Group thought it better suited to students doing a Masters in Russian History!
This was a challenging read for all of us, but we learnt a lot from it and some good discussion followed. Interviews with Sophy Roberts on YouTube brought the whole book to life, and the music she recommended at the end of the book was enjoyed.
WANG 001
We all learnt a lot about Siberia, its people and places, and the cold!!
AKAR 002
Everyone contributed to discussion - very lively! Wide ranging in scope. Questions very, very good as were the notes. Historical sweep very, very informative. A long read but well worth it. Captions to the photos hard to read.
"I learned a lot about Siberia - the maps were a big help and the early history of piano factories pre-Revolution". "Fantastic, best book of the year. An eye-opener". "The depressing part was the cruelty eg. aristocrats to peasants, Bolsheviks to royal family". "Not a novel, a book of stories. Could have been tied together as stories during the industrial revolution". "Required concentration. What I really liked was the descriptions of the people". Notes very helpful.
NELS 014
Quite a big read, but those of us interested in history enjoyed the detail and little anecdotes that we didn't know about.