A stirring novel of love and music inspired by the life of pianist Maria-Theresa von Paradis, a blind virtuoso and contemporary of Mozart.

Maria-Theresa von Paradis, the only daughter of the secretary of the empress of Austria, was an exceptionally gifted child. By the age of seventeen, she was a full-fledged virtuoso, playing for the royal family, acclaimed for her beauty and talent . . . and because she was blind. Her father, unable to accept her condition despite her soaring musical gifts, enlists the help of Franz Anton Mesmer, the forerunner of the modern practice of hypnotism, where Maria-Theresa discovers the passions and emotions from which her blindness had previously protected her. In the tradition of Sleeping with Schubert and The Cellist of Sarajevo, the novel is moving portrait of courage, loss, the elation of first love—and the pain of lost innocence.

Michéle Halberstadt is a French journalist, film producer, and author. Her previous novels include Prends soin de toi and Café Viennois. She also produced and co-wrote the movie Murderous Maids (2000). The Pianist in the Dark is her first novel to be published in English; it won the Drouot Literary Prize and was short-listed for the Lila literary prize in France.