A gloriously gothic, atmospheric reimagining of Faust set in Hungary.
Fabulously inventive, and laced with evocative detail and intrigue, Clio Velentza’s The Piano Room boasts bite and a beautifully crafted plot. Taking inspiration from the timeless tale of Faust, this keenly accomplished debut sees an entitled young man make a deal with the devil in order to forge his own destiny, so intense is his desire to renounce the weight of his family’s musical genius.
Sandor Esterhazy comes from a long line of formidably talented pianists. His family are also immensely wealthy - his father, for example, dresses in embroidered slippers, shiny tuxedoes, and soft leather gloves; the opulence and elegance of his background are tangible. Sandor, on the other hand, seems cut from a different cloth - “There was no spirit to his music: instead of rising into the air with warmth and spice, the melody clambered out of the instrument and lay on the floor like a lifeless thing.” And so Sandor decides to summon the devil himself to escape his fate. Relieved when nothing happens (“I’m such an idiot. It was all a joke. It’s all right. It’s over”), he’s overwhelmed when the devil later appears and promises, in return for his soul, that Sandor “will be free to lead the life you choose rather than the one laid out for you.” Sandor is left with a mysterious creature, Ferdi, whom he locks in his basement piano room, for a time at least.
Exploring self-determination and what it is to be human with wit, delicious gothic atmosphere and a compelling sense of ennui, The Piano Room is an immersive joy.
Sandor Esterhazy is descended from a long line of talented pianists, but has no desire to play. So, one snowy afternoon, he promises his soul to the devil in exchange for a life of his own choosing. Afterwards, he laughs it off as a joke, but that night the devil arrives dragging someone - or something - with him. Uncertain what to do with the bewildered creature, Sandor locks it in the basement, allowing it out only once a night to visit the piano room - the creature, who he names Ferdi, is desperate to play. Sandor slips easily into his new role of captor, but as Ferdi learns what it is to be human, tensions between the two escalate, and Ferdi escapes into the world...
|Publication date:||30th September 2021|
|Collections:||9 Chilling and Thought-Creeping Tales To Feast Your Eyes on These October Nights,|
|Primary Genre||Literary Fiction|
Closing date: 11/11/2021
'Like a beautiful melody played on the very edge of hearing, The Piano Room demands your attention while remaining elusive. Utterly captivating.' -Lynda Clark, author of Dreaming in Quantum and Other Stories;
'A dark and beautifully written tale, seeped in music, yearning and breathless intrigue.' -Edward Vass, author of Milton in Purgatory