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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Piano Teacher (mini review)

Cover image for The Piano Teacher

by Janice Y. K. Lee
audiobook:10.75 hours
narrated by Orlagh Cassidy 

From my library's website: 

In the epic tradition of The English Patient, this gripping tale of love and betrayal is set in war-torn Hong Kong. It is 1942, and Will Trusdale, an Englishman newly arrived in Hong Kong, has fallen headlong into a passionate relationship with Trudy Liang, a beautiful Eurasian socialite. But when WWII strikes, Will is sent to an internment camp, while Trudy remains outside. Trudy is forced to form dangerous alliances with the head of the Japanese gendarmerie, whose desperate attempts to locate a priceless collection of Chinese art lead to a chain of terrible betrayals. Ten years later, Claire Pendleton comes to Hong Kong and meets the enigmatic Will. As long-buried secrets start to emerge and she begins to understand the true nature of the world she has entered, Claire learns that sometimes the price of survival is love.

My Thoughts 

I'm torn about this book. On the one hand I really, really liked Will's story. Once it got started it completely sucked me in. This part of the book is what I was hoping for from Heart of Lies. The characters were so real and their lives often so unexpectedly (to them) tragic that I did not want to stop listening. On the other hand, Claire's story, though somewhat interesting, seemed superfluous. It was merely a vehicle to bring out Will's story, and in my opinion Will's story could easily stand on it's own.

So, overall a really good book BUT you have to wade through Claire's story off and on to get there.

14 comments:

Harvee said...

I thought Claire's experiences were very interesting if slightly unusual. Her flawed character stands out in my mind.

Heather J. said...

Harvee - It's interesting how different our reactions were to the same character! I love it when books strike readers in different ways.

bermudaonion said...

You've made me curious enough about the book that I'd be willing to give it a try.

Laura Fabiani said...

It seems like Claire's character got in the way instead of enhancing Will's story. The setting sounds great, though.

Heather J. said...

bermudaonion - I hope you do try it Kathy - the parts that were good were REALLY good!

Laura - For me Claire did get in the way, but Harvee's comment above says exactly the opposite ... I wonder how you'd react to Claire?

GMR said...

It's always interesting when two characters have a "BIG" voice in the story. You never really know how they'll play against each other, you know? Sounds like it didn't bomb completely on Claire's side but Will still stole the show. Not an audiobook-er myself, but I know a few who are...will pass on the recommendation. Thanks for sharing!

Kailana said...

Well, I read this book in 2009 and thought I really enjoyed it, but upon reflection I hardly remember what it was about...

Heather J. said...

GMR - I wonder if it would have worked better if I'd read it rather than listened to it?

Kailana - Don't you have when that happens?! LOL

Nan said...

I get caught up in the silliest things. Like is Will's last name pronounced Trues dale or Truss dale? And if it is True then why have a character named Trudy? I recently read a book with too many Ls in the characters' names. Lillian, William, Rachel. Do others notice such trivia?? :<)

Beth F said...

I have both the audio and the print of this one but every time I go to pick it up, I seem to end up reading something else. I may hold off a bit longer.

Heather J. said...

Nan - According to the audio version it is pronounced TRUES dale. It didn't seem to bother me to have a character named Trudy as well - it all just sort of worked. :)

Beth F - Parts of it were REALLY good so I hope you do give it a chance.

stacybuckeye said...

I'm on the fence about this one and your review is keeping me there :)

Amused said...

I loved this book. It was something unlike anything I'd ever read and yes, I think both of the characters were flawed!

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Heather!

Thank you so much for your comments on my review of "The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow"! I greatly appreciated them!

As for this book, "The Piano Teacher", it certainly sounds like something I would really enjoy reading! I don't read that much historical fiction, but, if it involves romance, I'm in!!

I enjoyed reading your thoughts!! :)

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