Robin Meloy Goldsby 
Waltz of the Asparagus People book

Waltz of the Asparagus People: The Further Adventures of Piano Girl

Robin Meloy Goldsby

2011 / Bass Lion Publishing

265 pages

Waltz of the Asparagus People is Robin Meloy Goldsby’s third book to date, and picks up where her autobiographical first book, Piano Girl, left off. Piano Girl told the story of Goldsby’s early years, the time spent “paying her dues” playing the piano in a wide range of locales, and working her way up to some of the finest “piano rooms” at hotels in New York City. Her recollections are often hilarious, but Goldsby expresses the full range of emotional experiences that life bestows on us from the perspective of the artist that she is.

Waltz of the Asparagus People jumps back and forth across the “pond,” as Robin and her family have established their home in Germany but need to return to the USA for personal and professional reasons. Instead of the bars and restaurants where Robin played stateside, she finds herself with a permanent gig at a venerable old castle in Germany. How fun is that? It’s great fun, from the sound of it, but many of the thoughts and recollections of Waltz of the Asparagus People are more philosophical and “deep,” for lack of a better word. There are still plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but I think this book gives us even more insight into the inner workings of Robin Goldsby the woman/mother/wife/daughter/friend. Life is full of funny moments, but it also has its wrenching times, and Goldsby shares some of those as well. She tells the story of her friend’s triumph over breast cancer only to be fatally knocked down by the treatment for the cancer. When this friend’s upbeat but challenged young daughter dies a short time later, we keenly feel grief as we marvel at the strength and courage to play for both the mother’s and daughter’s funerals. In the meantime, we experience meeting Bill Clinton at NPR, preparing for a German driver’s license test, trying to move a couple of huge horses out of traffic while wearing an evening gown and red velvet shoes, memories of her relationship with her piano teacher, and playing for one of the craziest wedding receptions you can imagine. All of this makes for wonderful reading, as it tells the story of one very talented but also very grounded woman who feels things deeply and expresses herself openly. I was sad to reach the last page of the book, and hope there are plenty of adventures ahead that will merit a third installment in the life of Piano Girl!

Robin Meloy Goldsby has also released a companion solo piano CD by the same title, and the music (a combination of original compositions and arrangements) corresponds to chapters in the book. I very highly recommend both!

Kathy Parsons