The Piano Teacher
Exotic Hong Kong takes center stage in this sumptuous novel, set in the 1940s and '50s. It's a city teeming with people, sights, sounds, and smells, and it's home to a group of foreign nationals who enjoy the good life among the local moneyed set, in a tight-knit social enclave distanced from the culture at large. Comfortable, c...more
Ultimately, the 1940s parts were more compelling. I wanted to know more about the relationship between Will and Trudy, Will's experience in an internment camp with other Weste...more
I listened to this and loved the narrator.
I really enjoyed the 1940's story line of Will and Trudy during the war - An Englishman and a Eurasian woman who are in the thick of the pre-war social scene and how their lives change when the Japanese invade Hong Kong. Will is interned as a prisoner of war and Trudy decides t...more
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status: Read in March, 2009, read count: 1
review: The cover of this book, The Piano Teacher, is its saving grace. It is a novel that attempts to provide some insights into conditions in Hong Kong prior to, during, and after World War II. It is a part of the world where the English, others, and the wealthy Chinese families form a tangled web of relationships.
On the one hand, we have Will Truesdale who finds himself strangely drawn to a Eurasian sprite of a girl,...more
The Piano Teacher, strictly speaking, doesn't have a lot to do with piano teaching. In fact, Claire (the piano teacher) sometimes feels like she's only there to tell the story of Will and Trudy and to tie up the loose ends for the reader. Trudy and Will are lovers in Hong Kong prior, and during the occupation of the Japanese. Their story interweaves with that of Claire in 1950's Hong Kong, who meets the Chen family and becomes their pian...more
Most critics expressed surprise that a debut novel could be as compelling and self-assured as The Piano Teacher. Lee's flawed, colorful characters, although initially unlikeable, increasingly endear themselves to readers as the secrets of the past unfold, and her vivid descriptions of Hong Kong evoke the rich sights, sounds, and smells of that bygone, foreign world. Though the Washington Post complained that "the prose rarely sings," other reviewers praised its simplicity and grace. Critics note...more
I don’t even want to attempt to summarise the plotline, which basically jumps between...more
Alternating chapters with Claire's story...more
There is much to like in a book that appropriates a cinematic swath of the not-too-distant past and brings it into sharp focus. Why, then, does Janet Y. K. Lee's first novel The Piano Teacher (Viking, 2009) leave an unsettled and incomplete aftertaste?
Despite the author's seemingly glamorous recent background, she pulls no punches in delivering grim accounts of tortured lives lived beneath the conquering Japanese. These landmines of agony (based mostly upon his...more
But as I continued reading it I realized that there was more to Will and his love for Trudy and even though the war did tear them apart-just the fact that he relives every memory of Trudy through his affair with Claire- made me hate him. I felt like he was using Claire to revive his life with Trudy and to try and make amen...more
Before I started reading it my daughter browsed the cover and said "I'm surprised you chose this, it seems like more of a women's book". She was obviously more pe...more
Set in the historically fascinating world of British Hong Kong in the 1940s and 50s, The Piano Teacher begins as a rather artsy novel that had a lot of potential. However, it fell flat about three or four chapters in, and the rest was dull and underachieving. Where Janice K. Lee has promise as a novelist, this book needed more personal editing and plot consolidation...more
I have been saying that it was a lot like Gone With the Win...more
...and the novel cuts back and forth between the early 50s and the 40s before WWII reached...more
More specifically, it is a tale centered around Claire Pendleton, a newlywed recently transferred to Hong Kong, and the affair she begins with Will Truesdale. Both hired by the same family, they must keep their affair quiet, but sec...more