My right hand started in the foothills, white and black notes rolling over each other as the piece climbed. And whilst it climbed, I sang. Sharps and naturals flowing under my fingers and out of my mouth. The need to breathe was frustrating. I had to gulp air even when there was no pause in the music. […] I came to understand Ute’s green notes – when to be steady and which fingers she had used for the most difficult sections. I liked to think they were messages written for me to find, in the middle of a forest on a piano that made no sound.
What I loved about this book was its sense of place: it takes a landscape in South Germany which I felt as if I could easily have hiked through, and explores it in minute detail. This small area of hillside is a whole world for Peggy, the book’s narrator-protagonist, and she is proud to know every inch of it.