Customer Reviews for

The Piano Teacher

Average Rating 3.5
( 208 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(50)

4 Star

(53)

3 Star

(62)

2 Star

(31)

1 Star

(12)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

The Piano Teacher

Two days ago I thought my review of this book would be quite different than it is. Two days ago I was on page 113 of this book and I was getting frustrated with the vapid characters who were either spending all their time acting the part of the privileged upper class E...
Two days ago I thought my review of this book would be quite different than it is. Two days ago I was on page 113 of this book and I was getting frustrated with the vapid characters who were either spending all their time acting the part of the privileged upper class English ex-pats in Hong Kong or (in Claire's case) stealing trinkets. Even the war-time surrender of Hong Kong to the Japanese seemed only a minor inconvenience to these people. However, a mere 13 pages later, the story rapidly grows teeth.
The Piano Teacher tells the story of two separate love affairs in the life of English ex-pat Will Truesdale. The two events are separated by a span of 12 years. In the 1940s, Will is new to Hong Kong and in love with a young Eurasian heiress, Trudy. They fill their days and nights with parties and other pleasant diversions. Even the war does little to affect their lifestyle, until the Japanese decide to put all the "enemy civilians" in interment camps. Will goes into the camp, but Trudy denies her British citizenship and remains free. From this point on, the story turns into a tragically human story of love, betrayal, and loss.
In the 1950s, Will has an affair with a young married woman, Claire. However, Will and Claire's affair simply provides the framework for the bigger picture of what ultimately happened to Will and Trudy during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.

posted by Readingrat on January 11, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

This book Wasn't Music to My Ears

The Piano Teacher is boring. The characters are whiny and I didn't care what happened to them. The information about Hong Kong is interesting; but the plot is weak and disjointed. I recommend Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweeet insted.

posted by huckfinn37 on April 17, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2012

    Good

    I read it for a book group; author is talented; setting and descriptions are excellent; I didn't like any of the characters though and wouldn't want to meet even one of them if they were real people; nevertheless, worth reading for the history and style

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Intriging

    It took me a bit ti get into this book and i almost stopped reading it all together but i decided to stick with it a little while longer and i am glad i did. I think stories about wwII are very interesting. I had no idea that it was so brutal until i started reading abiut it recently

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2012

    Slow and boring

    It takes awhile to understand whats goin on or the point of everything..

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  • Posted April 2, 2012

    A compelling story of survival. A great book

    A compelling story of survival. A great book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2011

    So real

    Loved this. Real characters, not villians and heros . Really showed the expat life as i remember it in hong kong.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    Could be better

    It was a really worthwhile book historically, but I'm really not into people with no personality trying to find themselves. The things happening around her were interesting, but I was able to predict all of the surprise revolations.

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    BORING - Not worth the time it took me to read it:(

    Very disjointed and SLOW to develop. Not to mention I didn't like any of the characters. The book is 326 pages long and only starts to get interesting at the very end - the last 40 pages. The story was not worth all the hype. I will definitely avoid works by this author in the future.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Trudy, Will, Claire, and Victor....Amazing characters

    The scene is Hong Kong, and the year is 1952. The story begins with a young English girl name Claire who just moved to Hong Kong with her new husband. Claire finds a job as a piano teacher for the Chens.

    In between getting to know Claire and the Chens. The author goes back 11 years from then. So through out the whole book. Your going back and fourth from Claire's present day and WWII. And that's when you first be introduce to Trudy and Will.

    This book was phenomenal. Usually I'm into the Stephen King Dean Koontz type of books. But this book was totally out of my genre, however. I really really enjoyed it. So now, I am a fan of Janice Y K Lee.

    So if your looking for a different type of book, with a different type of feel, scene, speed,and genre. Pick up the Piano Teacher, you want regret it!!! =)

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  • Posted February 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    decent

    i have never read about this aspect of history so i enjoyed it.

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  • Posted November 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    OK - but nothing special

    The book was interesting, but hard reading at first. I think it could have been better written. The plot was slow to develop. I didn't like the main characters so had a hard time getting into it.

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  • Posted September 9, 2010

    Falls a little flat

    I have mixed feelings about this book. The story isn't really one that leaves a lasting impression, and doesn't really grip you as you read it (or in my case, listen to it). I enjoyed the author's writing style and descriptions of day to day life in Hong Kong. The overall story is also intriguing. When I read something, I want it to evoke some sort of strong emotion. This book leaves much to be desired.

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    Starts strong, but tapers off

    I really enjoyed the first several chapters of the book. I was fascinated to learn about WWII from the perspective of Hong Kong and the story sounded promising. However, it sort of tapered off and became less interesting before sort of just petering out. Ok, but not the best.

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    3.5 stars. WWII Hong Kong

    If you don't care for stories that jump back and forth between timelines this this is not the book for you. But if you do, you will want to give this one a try. I also liked reading a story about another theatre of WWII from the civilian perspective. Lee's writing has a unique rhythm to it. I wish I could explain it but somehow it was just different. It was a little distracting at first but I adapted quickly and the author slowly pulled me into the novel. It wasn't actually the story that did it, it was mainly me wondering what the story was going to be. I would also have to say it's a true testament to her writing to keep me engrossed in a book where I didn't care for the three main characters--quite a feat indeed! I hated to give this one only three and half stars as I had a hard time putting it down but I was befuddled by the last 20 or so pages. The end of the story seemed jumbled but maybe that's what she was going for--life often ends up jumbled.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    Good book for a book group.

    I probably wouldn't have read The Piano Teacher if it hadn't been for my book group because I pretty much read just New York Times top ten books. It is a good tale about not getting stuck in a stereotype lifestyle and a stilted marriage. The most timid character becomes the bravest. The bravest characters become the most timid. The book group questions at the back of the book were helpful in stimulating our book group discussion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2010

    Slow, uneventful, unnecessary

    I did not care for this story because there was no connection to the characters. Trudy was interesting for a short time everyone else was bland. Depressing conditions during WW2 in Hong Kong are not interesting, needed more personal intrique for each character. Hated the ending.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    Gripping

    a good account of events at the outbreak of WW II in Hong Kong.

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  • Posted March 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    wonderful story of old Hong Kong

    I used to live in Hong Kong in the mid ninties for four years. As an American expat with both British and Chinese friends, I loved imagining this period in Hong Kong's history. The characters are easy to visualize and it is an easy story to read. I liked the style and loved the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Piano Teacher

    Am having difficulty getting into this book. I have put it down, for now, and try to pick it up again. I usually only buy hard back books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    HK before and after WW2

    extraordinary novel of the lives of expats in HK in the mid-20th century, the effect of war, occupation, and recovery on the foreign population.

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Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 208 Customer Reviews
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