Tom's Reviews > The Piano Teacher

The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek
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's review
Jul 03, 2008

really liked it

Umm, lord,lord, where to start??

How about disgusting, revolting, disturbing -- and utterly fascinating and entertaining.

Jelinek puts reader (or this reader,anyway) in position of being both an addicted voyeur and a moral scold. As strange as this may sound for story filled with so much sexual neuroses, it's quite funny at times. Just at the point where you're ready to call the Vice Squad on these characters for crimes against good taste, and sentence Jelinek to 20 years in a nunnery, she makes you laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. This happened so often that I was never quite sure of J's position? I finally gave up and just hung on the for the wild ride.
Imagine Sophocles, Henry James and Dostoevsky collaborating under a single pseudonym, and you'll get some sense of the frantic but perfectly controlled tone of this novel.
Call it a novel of sexual manners without the manners.
Call it porn on steroids with a brain and wicked sense of humor.
Call me hooked.
I'd love to read more Jelinek, but it's going to take another year of hosing myself off first before I'm ready.
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