Snippets from Books
What a Good Read!
The Upright Piano Player is David Abbott’s first novel; I’m certainly looking forward his next book and thoroughly enjoying this one.
He knew it was unforgivable to drive to the funeral in the old Land Rover, but it was the only transport he had. And anyhow, what difference did it make? What did any of it matter now? The day the police had returned the car he had taken it to the local dealer and they had ripped out the old seat belts and fitted the modern, retractable kind. They had done it in a few hours as an act of kindness, but to him the quick turnaround had felt more like a reproach.
He was not expected at the church. He had told his son that he was not up to it and could not come. That morning, he had found he could not stay away either, and had shaved in a hurry, cutting himself on the neck so that the collar of his white shirt had picked up specks of blood as he fumbled with his tie. A week ago, the doctor had given him sleeping pills, but he did not want oblivion and had not taken them. Now his eyes were almost closed, like those of a boxer at the wrong end of a good left jab, and driving to the church he had strayed onto the verge and mown down fifty yards of cow parsley before regaining the road. Following the arrows chalked on the gateposts, he parked in the meadow next to the church. The sun was high in the sky and the number of red cars in the field depressed him further.
As he walked into the lane he listened for music. There had to be music. It had been a bond between them. Favorite tapes played over and over in the car, a phrase in the lyrics or an exuberant riff prompting delighted laughter, always on cue. He hoped someone had thought about the music–chosen something suitable, not too religious. He would have done it himself–would have done it better than anyone–but they had spared him the task. Get some rest, they had said. Rest?
That night, in the small hours, he had consulted his battered copy of Hymns Ancient & Modern. In the index, trying to second-guess his son, he had looked through the list of hymns for special occasions, but he had found evidence only of the Victorians’ preoccupation with sin and self-improvement. There were hymns for a temperance meeting, hymns for a teachers’ meeting; hymns for the laying of a church foundation stone–but he could find no recommended send-off for a small child dangled from a moving Land Rover.