The Piano Teacher (Thorndike Reviewers' Choice) Hardcover – Large Print, 4 Mar 2009
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'Two love stories lie at the centre of this impressive debut, which explores the moral ambiguities of war, culture, race and romantic love. Intriguing, sad, rivetingly detailed' Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail
'[A] lovely novel – it has an old-fashioned solidity and craftsmanship and effortlessly recreates the atmosphere of post-war Hong Kong' Kate Saunders, The Times
'This is a rare and exquisite story. It does exactly what a great novel should do – transports you out of time, out of place, into a world you can feel on your very skin' Elizabeth Gilbert, author of 'Eat, Pray, Love'
'This season's “Atonement”…a first-class steamer ticket to a disappearing Hong Kong’ Elle Magazine
'This cinematic tale of two love affairs in mid-century Hong Kong shows colonial pretensions tainted by wartime truths…Lee unfolds each story, and flits between them, with the brisk grace and discretion of the society she describes’ New Yorker
'Laced with intrigue…Readers will be enthralled by Lee's depiction of Will's relationships with his two lovers…and the unsparing way Lee unravels them’ New York Times
'War. Love. Betrayal. The harsh lessons of history. These are big subjects for any veteran writer, and yet, in her first novel, Janice Y.K. Lee confronts them admirably’ Washington Post
'Evocative, poignant and skilfully crafted, “The Piano Teacher” is more than an epic tale of war and a tangled, tortured love story. It is the kind of novel one consumes in great, greedy gulps, pausing (grudgingly) only when absolutely necessary’ Chicago Tribune-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
'[An] impressive debut, which explores the moral ambiguities of war, culture, race and romantic love.'
-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
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Top Customer Reviews
Lee does not shrink from describing the harsh realities of life under occupation and the brutality visited upon both native Chinese and foreign nationals alike. Hong Kong's experience is often forgotten but in the timescale she has used in this novel it is still a fairly raw and recent memory. One of the interesting sides to the book is the way in which so many of the characters reached various sorts of compromise in order to survive and it makes one wonder what one would do in similar circumstances.
A very moving and thought-provoking account which will no doubt appeal to many readers who are interested in the human condition and the way people react under pressure.
The writer, new to me, has worked hard on the background material but, most of all, has found a remarkably good writing style that takes the reader along at a pleasant pace. I'm really impressed and hope that she can set to writing some more (and soon please). A worthwhile and very enjoyable book. I defy anyone who buys it not to be tempted to carry on for "just one more chapter" well after bedtime!
Set in Hong Kong `The Piano Teacher' is clearly well researched and the author has in-depth knowledge of Hong Kong as a place and of its people together with cognisance of the influence of `Empire' before the Japanese invasion, internment, and the `ex-pat' situation after the Second World War. She finds easy ways of defining characters, detailing circumstances, describing scenes and discussing cultures without use of fancy or florid language. The narrative flows well and varies in tempo as appropriate to issues of love and lust, loyalty and betrayal, crime and corruption, and many more emotions and traumas. There are surprises throughout, and though the final pages reveal the unexpected, the somewhat loose ending deliberately leaves the reader thinking and wondering. I deliberately refrain from producing a précis or exposing the plot - read the novel.
It is set in Hong Kong and slips easily backwards and forwards in time to tell the story of Claire, newly married and recently arrived in Hong Kong and established resident Will, with whom she begins an affair.
Much of the story focuses on Will's experiences in an earlier time with the glamorous Trudy. The lifestyle of the affluent is decadent and life is one long party until war brings it to an abrupt halt. The prison scenes are squalid and portrayed very colourfully.
The writing flows easily, is a pleasure to read and the Hong Kong setting is atmospheric. The behaviour of the various characters and many nationalities in Japanese occupied Hong Kong leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbour is gripping, disturbing and colourful without ever being gruesome or particularly graphic. People do what they need to survive and it is up to the reader to form their own opinion on the virtue of this. The repercussions live on long afterwards, as Claire discovers.
This is an absorbing and ejoyable read which I would recommend. As with all good books, parts of it will stay with me. The main characters are a little engimatic and interesting. I gave this book 4 stars but it is border line on 5. I found myself staying up reading late into the night with it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A easy to read book, with its linked pre and post Japanese occupation of Hong Kong romances, some of the writing I found quite enthralling, evocative and detailed. Read morePublished 9 days ago by catholic reader
I've quit reading The Piano Teacher. Clumsy characters, poor rhythm and lazy archetypes. I read, on average 4 books a month. Read morePublished 3 months ago by shutupparrot
Came to this after reading the recently published The Expatriates first. Novelists writing about China /HK in English are rare and first rate ones even rarer. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Andrew Moody
Bought for a friend living in Hong Kong who I know will recognise extracts from the bookPublished 7 months ago by Jacqui Locke