Now available in paperback, the critically acclaimed, “lyrical, analytical, yet deeply affecting” (The Washington Post) memoir about one woman’s obsessive search for the perfect piano—and about finding and pursuing passion at any age.
The daughter of a pro- fessional musician, Perri Knize was raised in a home saturated in classical music, but it wasn’t until adulthood that she returned to the one instrument that mesmerized her most: the piano. When, in her forties, Perri decides to buy a piano of her own, she begins by searching for a modestly priced upright, but falls madly, illogically, in love with a rare German grand she discovers in a New York showroom. After a long dalliance, Knize refinances her house to purchase her piano and has the instrument shipped to Montana. But when it arrives, the magical sound that enthralled her is gone, and the tone is dead and dull. One piano tuner after another arrives to fix it, but no one can.
Knize sets out on an epic journey to restore the instrument to its rightful sound and to understand its elusive power. This quest leads her into an international subculture of piano aficionados, all intriguing and eccentric characters—concert artists, dealers, technicians, composers, designers, and builders—whose lives have been transformed by the spell of a piano. She even hikes into the Austrian Alps to learn how the special trees used to build her piano are grown and harvested.
Beautifully composed, passionately told, Grand Obsession is itself a musical masterpiece—and will resonate with anyone who has ever experienced deeply passionate desire.
Perri Knize is an award-winning environmental policy reporter whose articles and essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Audubon, Sports Illustrated, Condé Nast Traveler, and Outside. She lives with her husband in Montana.
"Knize...explores the nature of music and its ability to touch us."
-- The Los Angeles Times
"...a memoir about passion and ephemerality with lasting elegance and grace."
-- Washington Post
"Reading this book, you want to go out...and learn the piano, or at least visit a shop and stroke one."
-- The New York Times Book Review
"For me, Grand Obsession was intimately powerful: It changed the way I look at the world."
-- The Missoula Independent
"[Written] in a wonderfully evocative, lushly romantic style...music lovers will resonate to...[Knize's]...pursuit of a gorgeous sound."
-- Publishers Weekly
"A well-written, heartfelt, classy paean to a singular instrument."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"I was hooked from the first page....this book travels beyond the sphere of mere music."
-- The Buffalo News
"Knize has crafted a poetic tribute to the piano...Warmly recommended for all collections."
-- Library Journal