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
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
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 didn’t enjoy this quite as much as I had hoped. The story was riveting; however, the characters were tremendously shallow, hard to understand, and extremely hard to like.
The story switches points of view between 1953 and 1942 when World War II has struck Hong Kong.
In 1953, Claire and Martin Pendleton, a recently married English couple, have moved to Hong Kong. Claire becomes a piano teacher teaching a young girl named Locket. Her pa...more
and what a book! what a dumb book. boring story. i kept waiting for the story to get moving and it never did.
this is a slow story about a bunch of english ex-pats living in hong kong and going to parties, having affairs, stealing things. Part 2 gets only mildly interesting when the japanese invade.
boring boring boring characters. i didn't really care w...more
bookshelves: read (edit)
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
All that aside...more
I listened to this and loved the narrator.
I don’t even want to attempt to summarise the plotline, which basically jumps between...more
On the surface, this is a romance novel about a man’s One Great Love that can’t withstand the rigours of the war, and a less than great affair with a married piano teacher. Underneath that surface lies a cleverly constructed mystery about a beautiful socialite who disappears during the war and the people responsible, directly and indirectly, for her death.
Some of the characters grow rich, stay safe, become successful, others are interned, tortured and die – and...more
Alternating chapters with Claire's story...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
The above statement probably summarizes how I feel about the book. Set in China, the story deals with a multitude of characters with no one playing the central role (not even the piano teacher). What I loved about this book was the fact that every chapters shifted from one timeline to another giving the reader a detailed glimpse of the present and the past. This is particularly effective in this book since the past basically deals with the multitude of crimes com...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
Like many of the other Goodreads reviewers, I found the 1940's content and personalities much more interesting than the post-war, 1950's chapters. While reading, I was interested, but didn't find the book compelli...more
From there, she moved south to Cambridge, MA, where she spent four years at Harvard, developing a taste for excellent coffee, Au Bon Pain pastries, and staying up all night, so...more