In an almost imperceptible translation from the French, this is a fairly long novel about expatriate-escapists in a small village in Spain-- or a ""negative breed"" of men and women in their ""incommunicable loneliness"" which is nevertheless fairly thoroughly verbalized. The mechanical pianos of the title are a static symbol of the mechanical people of the book-- strumming away with ""jangling sounds"" on what is by now an international anthom, namely non-existentialism. Rey's book is riddled and raddled with death, death in life and death at the end of life.... Among those doomed are Vincent Moreuil, running away from a lost love and spiralling into another emotional crackup; Pinero, an old, Picasso type figure, who has had a long attachment to the local legend, La Gloria, whore, witch or archetypal madwoman? at the beginning of life, two youngsters cling to a fantasy of running away before death actually intercepts their escape; then there's Regnier, indulging in drink and women, and finally Jenny, overwhelmingly vital in physique (""making love to her must be like screwing the Victory of Samothrace""). At the end she manages to save herself and Regnier.... An interesting, even if sometimes overarticulate, variant of what has certainly become the dominant as well as recurrent concern of present-day life and literature.