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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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    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.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wouldn't recommend it to anyone

    I saw this book in the fron of a book store and picked it up because it looked interesting.
    I'm not really that impressed by it so far, and I still have about 100 pages left to read. I'm actually getting kind of bored with it and am getting ready to just put it down and give up, but I hate doing that, so I will probably trudge through it, but definantly WILL NOT be recommending it to anyone, and it will not be finding a spot on my bookshelf to rest.
    All in all, a waste of time.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Disappointing...you can't judge a book by it's cover

    Although this book was not totally awful, I did not find it captivating like many of the other reviewers. I found the author's style very dull and at times hard to follow - I had to re-read many sentences to figure out what she was saying (I'm an avid reader and never have to do this). The characters were unappealing to say the least. I never felt like I wanted to understand them more - all seemed shallow and uninteresting until the last maybe 50 pages where a couple of them actually showed some depth.

    The only redeeming aspect of this book is the story itself. It sort of read like a movie that an author then decided to make into a book. It is a decent story and for those of you who like historical fiction, it definitely gives an interesting view of life in Hong Kong during and post WWII.

    For a much better read about life in Asia during WWII, I highly recommend Ten Green Bottles which is a true story about a family who escapes Vienna prior to WWII only to find themselves in yet another nightmare in Shanghai.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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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 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 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 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2010

    misleading title?

    that era is always fascinating to me, unfortunately, I was disappointed by the portrayal of various insights and characters. It read too much like a caucasian author, rather than of an author of Chinese descent. Or perhaps Lee is way too much western educated?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2010

    Good But Didn't Meet My Expectations

    I liked this book, but I expected more from it than it delivered. While it started out great, it became too long and detailed in its descriptions of life after the Japanese invaded Hong Kong. Although the author was skilled in her storytelling, the shifts in time between past and present became confusing to me and hard to follow.

    However, I still found the book worthwhile. The main characters Claire, Trudy, Will, and the Chens were well-written and interesting, and I had to keep reading to see what happened to them. I would recommend this book along with the caveat that you might want to skim over the parts that go on too long!

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  • Posted May 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A little tedious, but a good read.

    This book was okay, nothing spectacular. The characters seem shallow and single layered in the beginning, but towards the end of the book, they all get a little deeper. Set in Hong Kong, the Piano Teacher tells two separate, but intertwined, stories. A good read, but I've no reason to ever re-read this book again.

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  • Posted May 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing

    My local Barnes and Noble recommended this and I found it rather boring. I read it but struggled through it. Not a page turner.

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    Posted November 22, 2010

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