The Piano Bench

The Piano Bench is the story of Josef Samson, a Jewish man born in Germany in the late 1800s who saw both world wars. During that time, he takes up relationships with three different women, abandoning them one by one. I didn’t know when I began the book that part of the story is told in another of Webster’s novels, The Other Mrs. Samson. The Piano Bench tells Josef’s part of the story.

It definitely feels like only half the tale. The first few chapters are difficult to follow, and even once Josef begins to catch the reader up to the mystery they have been thrown into, it feels rushed and its style perfunctory. Josef tells us his whole life’s story, rushing through it in quick chapters that say everything but show nothing. What could have been a story of the transformation of a nation and a man of questionable motivations wound up flat and dull. I doubt I’ll return to read The Other Mrs. Samson because I simply don’t care enough to learn what happens to the women in Josef’s life.

By editor