Piano From A 4th Story Window completely flattened me. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)
Potts’s book Piano From A 4th Storey Window is fucking ace. I don’t usually say things like ‘fucking ace’ but it seems to fit. I can’t think of a better way of expressing the sense of exhilaration I felt every time I picked up the book, and the exhilaration stayed with me all the way through. No disappointments, not one.
The characters come alive in this book
The characters were thoroughly alive, and a large part of that came about through the wonderfully written dialogues that permeate the book. I really think that dialogue is the hardest thing to write convincingly – and harder still is to write dialogue that is convincing, funny and pertinent. Potts seems to do all this with ease. The characters come alive in this book more than anything through the conversations which they hold. Realistic conversations, which are written the way people actually talk.
I wandered along with the book without any regard for the plot for a good number of pages, which is unusual for me. I suppose it’s fair to say that it’s a relationship novel, which isn’t really my thing most of the time. What is my thing though is books that keep harrying you, that don’t let you walk away from them. I don’t care what the book’s about, if the writing itself holds my attention I’ll stay with it.
watching defences droop and drop one by one
There have been very few books which I’ve read in the last year which have truly delighted me, but this was one. And when the plot thickens, when large events and human tragedies eventually come into it, you’re already fully committed to the characters and so you live through the suffering with them in a way that you wouldn’t if you hadn’t had time to get acquainted, if you hadn’t gone with them through the difficult first forays of fancying someone, of coming together with them, of watching defences droop and drop one by one.
Potts has written a wonderful, warm, funny, humanistic, extremely entertaining and thoroughly captivating novel. I think that Potts can write incredibly well. Hidden tendernesses are given up but only after a fight. Riotously funny bar and bookshop conversations are masterfully sketched. Human lives are given their proper dimensions, filled out bit by bit with everyday foibles and human weaknesses. By the end of the book we have taken our place at the bar in 8, and wandered half-pissed between there and the bookshop, we have staggered home and left a keepsake there for which we must return, we have been drawn irrevocably into the lives of this cast of all too human characters. Recommended!
Get the book here: PIANO FROM A 4TH STOREY WINDOW (English Edition)
Review by Noel Maurice, author of The Berlin Diaries Vol. I: Tacheles ’91 (English Edition)