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The Piano Tuner

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  7,755 ratings  ·  1,039 reviews
On a misty London afternoon in 1886, piano tuner Edgar Drake receives a strange request from the War Office: he must leave his wife, and his quiet life in London, to travel to the jungles of Burma to tune a rare Erhard grand piano. The piano belongs to Surgeon-Major Anthony Carroll, an enigmatic British officer, whose success at making peace in the war-torn Shan States is ...more
Paperback, 355 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by Pan MacMillan (first published 2002)
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I must begin this review with a caveat: I cannot write about The Piano Tuner in an unbiased fashion, because I love it more than words can describe. I have read it at least 3 times, and each time I am completely drawn in to the world of Edgar Drake, and 19th century colonial Burma. If I were forced to choose a favorite book, this would be one of the contenders. No novel before or since has spoken to me quite as much as this one has.

The Piano Tuner is the the story of Edgar Drake, a London piano
I was going through a box of books that a friend was giving away, and I came across this novel. I was attracted by the title, so I took it home to read.

The pros: There is a bit of history on the technical aspects of the development of piano-making that I found fascinating, and I enjoyed the details about the actual process of repairing and tuning a piano, though anyone not interested in pianos would probably skip that, much like I did most of the boring Burmese history. Also, there are some bea
I WILL AVOID SPOILERS! My review is less about plot than what happens to my head and my emotions when I read this book.

Finished: Nope I was wrong about how it would end. My guesses were not exactly right and the difference was very important! The end has a surprising twist. As you know this book had wonderful writing. Good story and good ending. This book has just about everything a book can have, but not much humor. Somehow I didn't miss it, maybe b/c rather than being a grim tale,the book was
I was shocked by how poorly written this book was. Maybe I'm missing something. I admit that I abandoned it somewhere just past the halfway point, but it was a bit like leaving a baseball game when a team is up 15 to nil. There wasn't a lot of chance for redemption here. This book read to me exactly like a puppet show, where each voice, and each emotion was just a undisguised projection of the voice of the author. Its as if the characters open their mouths and the exact same voice comes out of e ...more
It is rare that I stop reading a book before the end. Usually I will read the whole thing and then come to the conclusion that it was a bad book, didn't need to read the book, etc.

I didn't need that long for this one. I have never taken so long to read 100 pages in my entire life. There is just no way that I can recommend this to someone, sorry. It reads like one of those books we hated in high school, and plods along like some 17th century English aristocrat who had to write something to make t
This is one of those books that you begin hopefully and end up putting down again and again. It has so much going for it--wow, the author graduated from Harvard and traveled in Burma studying malaria and as of the print date he is still just a medical student! How accomplished! This must be really good, right?

Well, I do give Mason credit for being obviously well-read and a very very good writer, but there are so many elements here that drive a reader insane. First and foremost, his writing style
Friederike Knabe
A piano tuner with a speciality for handling French Erard pianos leaves his beloved wife and quiet, comfortable life in London to embark on a journey of discovery into the furthest corner of Burma. He is called upon to repair the Erard piano belonging to the eccentric physician, Surgeon-Major Anthory Carroll, residing in a jungle outpost near the Siam (now Thai) border. Set in the late eighteen hundreds, during the Third Anglo Burmese War, the journey across oceans and continents is in itself an ...more
Oct 31, 2008 Fiona rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who appreciates beauty - you need to be calm to read this book.
Recommended to Fiona by: my dad
Where can I start?

Reading The Piano Tuner is more like closing your eyes and allowing a beautiful vision to play out in front of your eyes. You see, hear, feel, smell and taste the Burmese countryside through the rather romantic and simplistic view of Edgar Drake - an English piano tuner.

Reading The Piano Tuner is like being carried gently down a river.

The writing is picturesque - but also dreamlike and you get the feeling that everything around you is not quite real - like a mirage. After fini
Being a pianist, I especially enjoyed this book. I loved the references to various preludes by Bach and the Haydn Sonata Op 50 in D Major (Youtube it!). When I finished the book, I found my WTC (Well-Tempered Clavier) and played Bach's Prelude #4, referenced on p. 248 in the novel. I think I will always remember it. I was a little disappointed in the ending, although, it added to the mysteriousness of the story and the haunting qualities throughout (Please don't let my disappointment keep you fr ...more
I usually don't give up, also on books that I don't like at all, but today I do give up. The funny thing is that I don't even dislike The Piano Tuner that much, actually not at all. I like the main character (kudos to Mason to picture the boring job of piano tuning as a very interesting one), I like pianos, I like travelling and adventure (East not being exactly my favourite destination, but what the heck, as long as you're moving that's usually good enough for me to go there). And yet, I cannot ...more
Jun 29, 2008 FicusFan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who aren't passive readers expecting everyhing to be explained.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
César Lasso
Li este livro já lá vão uns cinco anos. Achei a história interessante e exótica, o qual agradeci já que eu, na altura, precisava de evadir-me com livros de aventuras. No entanto, tenho uma forte crítica acerca da trama: não teria bastado escolher um protagonista que fosse afinador de flautas? No meio da leitura, há uma passagem de páginas que parecem infindáveis acerca dos pormenores técnicos da arte de afinar pianos. Não é que não goste eu da musicalidade desse instrumento, mas não tenho nenhum ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Mar 23, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those Who Love Modernist Literary Fiction--with an emphasis on Modernist
I love strong historical fiction, especially about far away places, so I thought this novel set in the Victorian Age about an Englishman who travels to colonial Burma would be just the thing I'd love, but this was one story that just wasn't my cuppa. It has gotten rave reviews, including from some friends, and I tried, but I have style issues that stood between the story and me. I could see from the beginning that Mason can write shapely, lyrical prose, but his title character Edgar Drake didn't ...more
Ellen R
There was a lot about this book that I didn't like. In any other book, these details would have caused me to despise the writing, badmouthing it to anyone who'd listen. The author seemed to ignore the fact that quotation marks existed for half the book, and then used them perfectly for the other half. There was probably a reason for this, he was probably making a point about something, but I didn't get it. Some of the sentences seemed to run on forever, one taking up a page and a half. I get why ...more
I have to give Daniel Mason credit -- if memory serves me right, he's a medical student who decided to write a novel after traveling through Southeast Asia -- a true modern-day Renaissance man. I found the subject matter really interesting, almost seducing -- the romantic idea of someone who lives a simple life in London in the early 20th century, who gets to go on an exotic adventure in colonial Britain to repair a piano. But without giving anything away, I found the ending really underwhelming ...more
Ye Lin Aung
If you care to read the description of the book, I am pretty sure you'll be very eager to read.

The story is based in our own country, Myanmar.
It's very lovely to read about our beautiful (yes, it's still beautiful) country and people, as told by someone else.
The storyline is very good, engaging and left me in awe.
Thanks Arkar Min Aung for recommending it too. It's a helluva good one.

(If anyone would like to have the ebook (epub format), I'd email to you and just left a comment below)
I absolutely loved this book. I read it on a recommendation from my law school, that it was about the legal profession, which, it isn't, but it is still a wonderful exploration of the range of human emotion and feelings I think many humans get over their lifetime.

Edgar Drake is a complex, interesting and a character that one can easily relate to. I believe, so many of us as humans at some point or another wonder if there is more in the world that our mini-universes, which I think is exactly wha
Oh, man! It's been awhile since I read a truly great adventure story (since Gil Adamson's 'The Outlander', actually) and this pulled me in immediately. I just finished it last night and I have that feeling where I don't want to start another book just yet; this story is still sinking in for me. I need to give it a few days to settle. That's just good book manners, right?

Anyway... the book follows a middle-aged British piano tuner named Edward on his summoned tuning job to the wild and unstable j
The plot of this novel attracted me: Drake, a British piano tuner makes a journey to the jungles of Burma aka Myanmar) to tune and voice the Erard of an eccentric British officer. The protagonist is drawn quite sketchily, and I had a hard time seeing him in my mind's eye. We learn little of his inner life, except possibly his mindset while tuning. While there are some clunky devices (interjected book excerpts, notes, letters), the story of the tuner's journey is fascinating. I enjoyed the descri ...more
This was a strange book. It was difficult to read, not because of the subject, but it did drag on a bit. It was interesting, and the trip from London to a remote part of Burma in the 19th century would have certainly provided many unique challenges. The climax of the book was a plot twist I fully didn't expect, although it had been hinted at prior. The ending left me very cold.
Antonio Felippe
I'm not yet sure about how I felt about reading this book. At the beginning it was a hard work, maybe because of my stressful life, maybe because of some caracteristics of the book; I'll probably never know.

In this Daniel Mason's book, we are presented to Edgar Drake, a piano tuner whose life was a captive of routine and a man who have never find something he never know he was looking for. The opportunity to learn about it comes with a strange request, he must travel to Asia to tune a piano.

Real rating: 2.5 stars.

While this book is beautifully written, I had some problems with the way in which events were represented. The story is about a man, the titular piano tuner, who is sent to Burma to tune a piano. In his trip he learns about the different culture and how music can bring peace to a colonized country. Because yes, the whole thing is set during the Victorian Age with the whole expansion of frontiers and so on as a background.

But the thing is that it’s all pretty much like the
In two words: horrendously tedious.

Mason has no idea how to create compelling characters or provide information in a non-clumsy way. He seriously provides a complete "briefing" on the history of Burma in the story (the character is given this document by the army). If I wanted that, I would read a history book (or go on Wikipedia). The point of historical fiction is to give readers a sense of place/history by bringing the past ALIVE through characters' interactions, not insert several pages of
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Following Edgar Drake on his journey from London to the wild frontiers of Burma was wonderful, especially because Edgar is the kind of traveler who knows how to leave his expectations of home behind and embrace the new cultures and experiences that present themselves along the way. This, to me, is the very best way to travel and the only way of making sure that you truly experience the place you're visiting. The character of Dr. Anthony Carroll is a legendary one. ...more
“In the fleeting seconds of final memory, the image that will become Burma is the sun and a woman’s parasol. He has wondered which visions would remain – the Salween’s coursing coffee flow after a storm, the predawn palisades of fishing nets, the glow of ground turmeric, the weep of jungle vines.”

Daniel Mason’s debut novel begins with a letter from the British War Office. The year is 1886 and a piano tuner, Edgar Drake, has received a commission to travel to Burma to attend to a piano for a mi
Steve Woods
Enchanting! I really enjoyed this book. the slow enchantment of the main character with Burma reminded me so much of my own enchantment deep in the mountains of the Golden Triangle; the jungles of the eastern Malay peninsula; the stark ricefields of Cambodia in the dry and the ephemeral surrealism of Mekong and its surrounds, the seductive chatms of thr cities on its banks during the early 70s. I relived many moments in the reading of this book. That only confirmed in me the thought that I arriv ...more
Cameron L
I Choose to read "The Piano Tuner" because it sounded like an interesting book that I would have enjoyed reading over the summer. "The Piano Tuner" caught my attention before I even knew what the word was about because I myself am a piano player and thought it might have been something different if I read about the life of a piano tuner. At first I thought the book would have been about a piano tuner doing his job and his everyday life of fixing and tuning pianos for various people. Before I re ...more
The title and the cover of this book do not even begin to give the appropriate impression of this book. From those things alone, it seems like some typical, emotional-journey story that a bunch of teenage girls read during their development of self-awareness, but it turned out to be an action-packed, profound, and artistically written adventure story.

I found the main character (the piano tuner) to be quite likeable, because he isn't a hero. He's a good person and talented in his profession, but
I loved this book. I approached it without expectations and, maybe, because of it I was so nicely surprised by its poetic beauty. This is an amazing accomplishment for a first time author. Sometimes a book will come along in which we immerse ourselves so totally as to be taken away into its realm/time/space. I think I read fiction so eagerly in a constant search for this experience, because this feeling is as additive as it is evasive: that primal pleasure of reading.

This is a complex story. Ed
- I think this book had a fascinating setting, in a place & time in history where British and Asian colonization was very interesting...
- Mason has a pretty good writing style, but I found his characters wanting..
- I found I did not get a good sense of who Edgar really was besides a quiet, shy piano tuner.
Not the mention the "fabricated" or forced love story between the Burmese woman was lacking in true romance. Though I appreciated the subtle, romantic restraint in the writing, I didn't get
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If you liked the Piano Tuner... 1 69 Sep 05, 2007 08:32PM  
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  • Longing
  • Lemprière's Dictionary
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  • Easter Island
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Daniel Mason is an American novelist. He received a BA in biology from Harvard University, graduating at the top of his class. He later graduated from medical school at the University of California, San Francisco. He wrote his first novel, The Piano Tuner, while still a medical student. The book became a bestseller and was published in 27 countries[1]. Mason's second novel, A Far Country, was publ ...more
More about Daniel Mason...
A Far Country Gors Warriors (Alien Love #1) Picador Shots - 'Death of the Pugilist, or the Famous Battle of Jacob Burke and Blindman McGraw' Rush El afinador de pianos (Narrativa)

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“The conversations rests uneasily; one doesn't expect good-byes to be burdened by such trivialities. This is not how it is in the books, he thinks, or in the theater, and he feels the need to speak of mission, of duty, of love. They reach home and close the door and he doesn't drop her hand. Where speech fails, touch compensates.” 5 likes
“White. Like a clean piece of paper, like uncarved ivory, all is white when the story begins.” 1 likes
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