Gretchen's Reviews > The Piano Teacher

The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee
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Jul 25, 11

really liked it

This is an absorbing novel set in Hong Kong before, during, and after the occupation by the Japanese during World War II. The characterization is well developed, and it seems like a character–driven novel. But as you get into it, the plot – at first subtle – takes on import nearly as strong as the characters. Hong Kong, btw, is almost itself a character. It is a good read – you won't want to put it down. I only had two problems with it. First, it is not told in chronological order. It isn't really confusing, but it does make the reader work a little. I didn't see a convincing reason why Lee chose to tell it out of chronological order, except that if it had been chronological, the climax would have been much earlier in the book. Second, there is a little too much dependence on explication at the end to resolve the plot.
The story is about an English couple, Claire and Martin, who come to Hong Kong in the early 1950s. He is a civil engineer working on a dam project and she is a piano teacher. Through the family of her student, as well as the ex–patriot community and the Chinese people with whom they interact, and an affair that Claire has, Claire becomes involved in an intrigue that began before the War involving power struggles, loyalties, love, and the secreting of the Crown Collection.
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Gretchen This is an absorbing novel set in Hong Kong before, during, and after the occupation by the Japanese during World War II. The characterization is well developed, and it seems like a character–driven novel. But as you get into it, the plot – at first subtle – takes on import nearly as strong as the characters. Hong Kong, btw, is almost itself a character. It is a good read – you won't want to put it down. I only had two problems with it. First, it is not told in chronological order. It isn't really confusing, but it does make the reader work a little. I didn't see a convincing reason why Lee chose to tell it out of chronological order, except that if it had been chronological, the climax would have been much earlier in the book. Second, there is a little too much dependence on explication at the end to resolve the plot.
The story is about an English couple, Claire and Martin, who come to Hong Kong in the early 1950s. He is a civil engineer working on a dam project and she is a piano teacher. Through the family of her student, as well as the ex–patriot community and the Chinese people with whom they interact, and an affair that Claire has, Claire becomes involved in an intrigue that began before the War involving power struggles, loyalties, love, and the secreting of the Crown Collection.


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