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Born in 1805 on the Lewis and Clark expedition, Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau is the son of Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau. He is raised both as William Clark's ward in St. Louis and by his parents among the villages of the Mandan tribe on the far northern reaches of the Missouri river. In 1823 eighteen-year-old Baptiste is invited to cross the Atlantic with the young Duke Paul of Württemberg, whom he meets on the frontier. During their travels throughout Europe, Paul introduces Baptiste to a world he never imagined, and Baptiste ultimately faces a choice: whether to stay in Europe or return to the wilds of North America. As we follow this young man on his intriguing sojourn, this remarkable novel resonates with the richness of three distinct cultures, languages, and customs.
Thad Carhart never realized there was a gap in his life until he happened upon Desforges Pianos, a demure little shopfront in his Pairs neighborhood that seemed to want to hide rather than advertise its wares. Like Alice in Wonderland, he found his attempts to gain entry rebuffed at every turn. An accidental introduction finally opened the door to the quartier's oddest hangout, where locals -- from university professors to pipefitters -- gather on Friday evenings to discuss music, love, and life over a glass of wine.Luc, the atelier's master, proves an excellent guide to the history of this most gloriously impractical of instruments. A bewildering variety passes through his restorer's hands: delicate ancient pianofortes, one perhaps the onetime possession of Beethoven. Great hulking beasts of thunderous voice. And the modest piano "with the heart of a lion" that was to become Thad's own.What emerges is a warm and intuitive portrait of the secret Paris -- one closed to all but a knowing few. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank is the perfect book for music lovers, or for anyone who longs to recapture a lost passion.From the Hardcover edition.
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