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The Piano Teacher Hardcover – 5 February 2009
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|Hardcover, 5 February 2009||
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- Publisher : HarperPress (5 February 2009)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0007286198
- ISBN-13 : 978-0007286195
- Dimensions : 16.1 x 3.2 x 23.9 cm
- Customer Reviews:
'This is a rare and exquisite story. It does exactly what a great novel should do - transports you out of time, out of place, into a world you can feel on your very skin' Elizabeth Gilbert, author of 'Eat, Pray, Love'
'Lovely novel - it has an old-fashioned solidity and craftsmanship and effortlessly recreates the atmosphere of post-war Hong Kong.' Kate Saunders, The Times
'Two love stories lie at the centre of this impressive debut, which explores the moral ambiguities of war, culture, race and romantic love. Intriguing, sad, rivetingly detailed …' Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail
'This season's Atonement…a first-class steamer ticket to a disappearing Hong Kong.' Elle magazine
'This cleverly crafted debut novel is a winner' Marie Claire
'This cinematic tale of two love affairs in mid-century Hong Kong shows colonial pretensions tainted by wartime truths…Lee unfolds each story, and flits between them, with the brisk grace and discretion of the society she describes.' New Yorker
'Laced with intrigue… Readers will be enthralled by Lee's depiction of Will's relationships with his two lovers…and the unsparing way Lee unravels them.' New York Times
'War. Love. Betrayal. The harsh lessons of history. These are big subjects for any veteran writer, and yet, in her first novel, Janice Y.K. Lee confronts them admirably.' Washington Post
'Evocative, poignant and skilfully crafted, The Piano Teacher is more than an epic tale of war and a tangled, tortured love story. It is the kind of novel one consumes in great, greedy gulps, pausing (grudgingly) only when absolutely necessary.' Chicago Tribune
'War, love, betrayal-an exquisite fugue of a first novel…intensely readable.' O (Oprah Magazine)
'A heartfelt debut [that] illuminates World War II's lesser-known chapters.' Vogue
'One of the most insightful, elegant and atmospheric novels I've read in a long time. Janice Lee is nothing short of brilliant and her novel is impossible to put down.' Gary Shteyngart
'Rarely does one encounter a debut work as beguiling and assured as Janice Lee's The Piano Teacher. Rich with intrigue, romance, and betrayal, this wonderfully written, utterly captivating novel dazzles with its sharp-eyed renderings of beau monde Hong Kong as it is plunged into the crucible of war. With its fascinating interplay of East and West and wide cast of effervescent characters, especially the singularly haunting Trudy Liang, this is a truly transporting - and indeed irresistible - work of fiction.' Chang-rae Lee, author of 'Aloft'
From the Back Cover
It's 1952 and 32-year-old Claire arrives in Hong Kong with her new (and dull) husband Martin. Using her marriage to escape a bitter mother and non-existent home life in England, Claire takes a position in Hong Kong as piano teacher to Locket, the daughter of wealthy socialite Chinese parents. She swiftly becomes intrigued by the family's unconventional English driver, the charismatic and enigmatic Will Truesdale...
Claire's love affair with Will is interwoven with events in the early 1940s in Hong Kong - and another, very passionate, and tragically doomed love affair, Japanese brutality and secrets betrayed.
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Anyway I read it on holiday last week, hoping it would indeed be 'this season's Atonement' as it said on the cover - it wasn't, and if I were Ian McEwan I might contact the Trades Description people to get the sticker removed!
It was quite good in transporting me back (in an imaginary way, I am not that old) to 1940s and 1950s Hong Kong, but not was good as Ballard's 'Empire of the Sun' (okay that was Shanghai but you know what I mean) and I was surprised that was not one of her references.
Other than that it's an average love story which as other people have suggested doesn't really tie up too well. Why she is 'The Piano Teacher' I have no idea, she could have been anything, and why the stealing - I assumed the bit about the china Dog at the beginning would be revealed to be part of the main plot (but unless I missed something it wasn't).
Still credit to JYK Lee for writing a best seller - perhaps her next novel will be better, but I won' be rushing to read it.