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A Piano in the Pyrenees

The Ups and Downs of an Englishman in the French Mountains
Narrated by: Tony Hawks
Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
4 out of 5 stars (279 ratings)

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Summary

Inspired by breathtaking views, and dreaming of finding love and romance in the mountains, Tony Hawks impulsively buys a house in the French Pyrenees. Here he imagines he will finally fulfil his childhood fantasy of mastering the piano, untroubled by the problems of the world. However, Tony's account of stumbling into the world of overseas home ownership is perhaps best heard as a useful manual of how not to go about buying a house abroad. The man who once travelled around Ireland with a fridge is hopelessly ill prepared for this latest adventure - though the consequences are hilarious.
©2006 Tony Hawks (P)2007 Isis Publishing Ltd.

Critic reviews

"Hugely entertaining." ( The Mirror)
"Funny and irreverent as ever." ( Wanderlust)
"A warmly comic adventure." ( Daily Mail)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Story

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Truly a true story!

I found this book fascinating, as Tony Hawkes' experience almost exactly mirrors my own, although I live in the Limousin area of France. Maybe the French aren't quite as friendly here, but the builders and buying processes are exactly the same!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr
  • 03-02-10

Great listen, great narration

Bought this for a drive through France. It made the journey fly by. Great narration which was both funny and moving. Highly recommended

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Health Warning: Don't Listen & Drive!

Listened to this on the long drive down through France from Calais to Biarritz - it was perfect entertainment, but it was almost too entertaining, and I nearly crashed twice due to laughing so hard I could barely see... Best enjoyed while not behind the wheel! But Tony Hawks certainly captured every ounce of comdey to be had from Brits in France, so when you need cheering up, download this and sit back and enjoy.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Read! Highly entertaining.

I was planning to buy a science factual book, but inadvertently came across this. I have always liked Tony Hawks on Just A Minute and bought this on a whim. What can I say? He reads it so well and there are some real laugh aloud moments (not great when you walking down the street!) I found myself having to ration my listening, so the book didn't finish too soon. I felt I was there with him through all the ups and downs and enjoyed his characterisation of all the people in the village. I am now going to buy Round Ireland With a Fridge, even though I have already read it in print. "Monsieur Tony, when are you going to read some of your other books for us?

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Pyrenees venture

Those who are looking for profound insights into French culture may feel a little let down, but this is a very honest review of Tony's experiences in France. It's well written and read with some side-splitting moments that ought not to be read while eating or drinking.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very funny, gentle humour.

I don't laugh out loud easily, but this talking book caused me to do so a lot. His humourous observations are kind, not cruel and his reading style enhances this. His vocal impressions of his French neighbours intersperse the monologue well. It makes you want to visit this French village. I particularly liked the chair lift 'episode' towards the end. There are enough characters in the book, but not so many that you get confused. I hope Tony records a new book soon.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Piano in the Pyrenees (Unabridged)

I really enjoyed this. Hawks' down to earth style and insights into the difficulties of buying a property abroad and trying to fit into a new community were both captivating and hilarious.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Laugh out Loud

I listened to this on holiday this year and my poor husband said I was an embarrassment for laughing out loud whilst reading it.
Very funny book


2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • J
  • 25-09-17

disappointing read

What disappointed you about A Piano in the Pyrenees?

having bought a house in Spain and France and having enjoyed "driving over lemons" about the buying of a house in the area of Spain where I live, i had hoped this would show some insight, but it didn't. the story line was quite dull and predictable and did not make me laugh , sadly i gave up part way through feeling my own experiences were more interesting!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A soothing, gently humorous read

I have read all of Tony Hawks' books in paperback and thoroughly enjoyed his wistful humour and adventurous attitude to life. The audiobook is a delight because Tony's reading voice is so soothing. Very enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Rick
  • 27-03-11

Not as funny as previous books

I listened to this book over a fairly long period and that may affect the flow of the book, but on balance i was expecting the book to be more like the previous titles, which were primarily humorous travel books about people and places. Having said that, I still liked the slice of french village life and the observations which were well told. It's a gentle read, and not a rip snorter.

Probably star Juliette Binoche in the film versions ; -).

Perhaps I have a different view of this book as Kiwi guys tend to regard themselves good at D-I-Y and therefore some of the frustrations of the author in his house / pool building enterprises and van experience left me frustrated with the author's lack of skills /expectations; rather than the situations!

Have to write my own book so Tony can review it.