Years and years ago I went to see the play Art, for which I can only remember the scene about the friends arguing over the value of a white canvas. The Borders closing down sale, a strange feeling for a bookshop lover, had the first book by the play’s writer Yasmina Reza in the sale and so it felt like a deal that couldn’t be walked away from.
The book is a series of very short chapters which are on the themes of time, memory, life and death. Some are witty, others are sad but you move quickly through the life of someone who is not only getting older but witnessing that process happening to her parents and her own child.
The book starts with a conversation with the narrator’s dead father who struggles after a conversation with Beethoven to play one of his favourite pieces the Hammerklavier. That image sets the book up with the idea of death and memory.