34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
A hero and two heroines,
This review is from: The Piano Teacher (Hardcover)
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For a story embracing war, compromise, survival and guilt there are many characters in `The Piano Teacher' but the leading man and his two heroines dominate. They are interesting and intriguing and become totally credible within the turn of events described. `The Piano Teacher' is a love story and a historical novel, covering two main periods (1941-42 and 1952-53) skilfully interwoven plus some forward and backward glances. Author Janice Lee deals sympathetically with relationships and choices, and she steers and manipulates with incisive commentaries by the hero and heroines on each other, on additional individuals, on social groups, and on nations and nationalities. Their musing and philosophising is piercing and perceptive, and the reader is unlikely to predict outcomes.
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.