The Piano Teacher: A Novel
by Janice Y. K. Lee
Hardcover- $12.49

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  "Not Very Good" by hdcook (see profile) 06/04/09

It was a slow read and quite confusing.

  "Personal survival superceeds human decency" by Tonia (see profile) 06/04/09

This odd story does not contain any joy, happy moments, or "hero's." It is not possible to find a character to connect with as they ALL have strange flaws/behaviors. (Even prior to the war, every character was playing head games and made it feel unrelatable for the reader.) I did find it interesting to read about the build up of WW2 prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
If this author chooses to write another book, I doubt I'll pick it up to read.

  "The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee" by gilead53 (see profile) 07/30/09

I foundd it to be a really interesting story of the English - Chinese social scene in Hong Kong during World War II. Fascinating Characters and plot. I just read that THE PIANO TEACHER has been nominated for the 2009 FIRST FICTION AWARD for 2009 by the Book of the Month Club.

  "Don't bother...." by ShanaM (see profile) 08/13/09

This book left too many unanswered questions! None of the confusion about what happened was ever wrapped up....we were left dangling with no answers!
I would NOT recommend this book to one in our book group enjoyed this book!
BIG disappointment!

  "The Piano Teacher" by Doitl (see profile) 08/13/09

It was too depressing, and the plot was difficult to follow.

  "The Piano Teacher" by Midnightreader (see profile) 03/16/10

Characters were shallow and uninteresting. The story moved along very slow. The story could have been told with half the number of pages.

  "Finally A Woman Who Stands on Her Own" by rowchick (see profile) 06/02/10

I adored this book - more because the piano teacher does not end up with ANY guy than anything else. Given the time period that this is all taking place, it is remarkable that such a young expatriot would choose to go it alone instead of either remaining miserable with her husband or throwing herself at her lover in a despertate attempt to sway him.

The historical portion of the story is both sad and moving - I really would love to see this book made into a tasteful film because the characters could share so much in the unspoken word that would translate so well on film.

Others in the book club did not like the "sad" aspect to the book and didn't understand her choice in the end.

  ""The Piano Teacher" I just wanted it to end!" by kdangle17 (see profile) 06/08/10

I wanted to like this book, but it never captivated me. I just wanted it to end!
The piano teacher, Claire, did not add significantly to the story for me. She was simply a means to guide the reader through Will and Trudy's story. I didn't like Claire or find her to be interesting in any way.
Trudy was overall annoying. In most of the conversations she flitted from one topic to another, one emotion to another, none of it seemed very meaningful. To me she is the epitome of the person you avoid at social gatherings if you can.
Will Truesdale was drawn to these two self-centered, self-serving women and was romantically involved with both during different time periods in Hong Kong's history. He regrets what he withheld from Trudy and cannot give Claire anything meaningful of himself either.

  "Excellent writing distinguishes this novel" by StacyactII (see profile) 06/20/10

The subject matter is not all that uplifting, and the main characters are not the most likeable, but somehow the author draws the reader into the dark, complicated, chaotic world of Hong Kong during WWII and in the aftermath some ten years later, through a well crafted weaving of storylines. The writing is interesting and sophisticated, and though the characters have hard edges, we do feel sympathy for them, due to the author's skill.

  "The Piano Teacher" by bnmcaleer (see profile) 09/08/10

Provoked some interesting discussion on how different people handle difficult circumstances.

  "The Piano Teacher" by DanielleTowne (see profile) 10/01/10

  "The Piano Teacher" by SharonBrower (see profile) 01/17/11

I gave this book a thumbs down because of the lack of charater development and how pointless and shallow they were. I thought the historical part was interesting to imagine what life would be like if I was living in a country that was conquered by another and what would happen and what lengths I would go to survive and thrive in that environment. We should have some interesting discussion but I think it'll be brief and will focus on that later point.

  "Interesting Topic" by kristinbluedog (see profile) 12/09/11

It was an interesting perspective on WWII in Hong Kong which I had never really read anything about. The characters were all pretty unlikeable which just made it a challenge to really connect to the story.

  "Not sure it's good for discussion" by FTessa (see profile) 08/06/13

3.5*** - I’ll admit that I was expecting a lighter chick-lit type of historical romance, but I was pleasantly surprised by the added depth to this story. Once again I found myself reading a book with dual time lines, and alternating stories; the book begins with Claire’s arrival in Hong Kong in 1952, then transitions to January 1941 where we are introduced to Trudy. For several chapters the timeline alternates, then we spend a considerable amount of time in WW2 as the Japanese take control of Hong Kong, evacuating non-Chinese residents to “safe havens” which are really POW camps. Part three returns us to Claire’s story as she begins to piece together what really happened and how the people she has met were connected.

I seem to be reading quite a few novels lately that have dual timelines, which is a difficult writing device to handle well. Lee does a pretty good job, especially for a debut novel. Leading each chapter with a date certainly helps the reader keep the timelines straight. It does take several chapters before we make the first connection between the two stories, but I was quickly caught up in these interwoven tales of love, loss, secrecy and betrayal. Claire reminds me of The Painted Veil’s Kitty Fane, though she isn’t drawn quite so fully as Maugham’s character. Will Truesdale is almost as puzzling to me as he is to Claire, but I rather like that Lee left the reader to discover him rather than spell everything out. I certainly didn’t see the revelation towards the end coming. The writing is evocative of time and place; I’ve visited Hong Kong several times (while it was still a British Colony), and can easily picture the settings, the oppressive heat and humidity, and the “aliveness” of the markets. This is Lee’s debut, and I would certainly read another novel by her.

Orlagh Cassidy does a fine job of narrating the audio version. Her pacing is good, and I had no trouble keeping the characters or the timelines straight.

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/07/19

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