Customer Reviews for

The Piano Teacher

Average Rating 3.5
( 208 )
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(50)

4 Star

(53)

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(62)

2 Star

(31)

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(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 January 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    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 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.<BR/>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.<BR/>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.

    16 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fascinating view of a love story in war torn Hong Kong

    The Piano Teacher is wonderfully written and places the reader directly into WWII in Hong Kong. The characters are unique and thoroughly depicted through their interactions and social events. When reading this novel, I was able to escape to the 1940s and imagine life as it was in Hong Kong, while the love story was also captivating and unique to its time. The technique of switching from past to present from the perspective of two different women allowed me to engage myself in the story because I was constantly searching for the connection between the two stories. I could not put the book down at the end because the plot begins to unravel and the connections are formed. I loved the voice and tone of the characters throughout the novel and the wonderful language of the author. If you enjoy historical fiction and love stories, this book deserves a spot in your library.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Haunting tale of survival amidst chaos.

    Ms. Lee gives us a modern period piece with rich characters whose views of life in Hong Kong immediately before, during and after the WWII are altered dramatically.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2009

    The Piano Teacher

    This was a very good book. I am glad that I was unaware that it went into World War II a bit because if I had I wouldn't have read it. This is a little graphic...There is a reason it is in the adult section. I think it fits the age of 15-above. I really loved the book though I could have waited a year or so to read it because of the graphics. Don't get me wrong it is not very graphic at all just a bit more than I thought thats all. In the reviews I read it didn't say anything about love scences or war ones. I just want to give people the warning I never got. Really and trully an amazing book especially for a first time writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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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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  • 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 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 8, 2010

    Enjoyed very much.

    A very good read. Ending wasn't what I had expected but still very good.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee is told in two alternating parts

    I read almost 100 pages of this novel before I really was hooked in the story. Part of the story takes place in Hong Kong in 1942 and the rest is in Hong Kong in 1953. I found the war time section to be much more interesting. However, the characters seemed rather one-dimensional at first. Once the Japanese invaded Hong Kong I thought the story was much more interesting. I did find the ending a little confusing. Perhaps this is the part that would make for the best discussion in book groups. It is very interesting to learn what happened in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation.

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  • Posted January 19, 2010

    No Music Is Playing Here

    This book is not so much about the piano teacher, Claire Pendleton, as it is about her unintentional entanglement with people whose lives were affected by the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong that happened 10 years before she arrived on the island. She arrives in Hong Kong after marrying an older man to escape from a dismal life in England. She is hired by a rich Chinese family to teach piano lessons to their daughter, and she finds herself stealing from the family. She realizes that she is becoming a different person, and that she has become part of the social life of the English colony of Hong Kong. She begins an affair with a handsome Englishman, Will Truesdale, and she unwillingly becomes involved in events that are a result of his past.
    This story is about Truesdale and Trudy, the Eurasian beauty and socialite that he loved. This is a story of what happened in Hong Kong when the Japanese invaded the island during WWII. It is a story of love, friendship, betrayal, and cruelty. It is a story of collaboration with the enemy; imprisonment of the English, Americans, and other foreigners on the island; and a graphic look at the lives of the Chinese and how they survived the invasion.
    The story has a different twist at the end that makes it more dramatic. The book is written almost as a script for a movie, and the descriptions and events seem to have a picture book quality. I think it would make an excellent movie. I don't think it has the depth that would make it an adequate subject for discussion. It's a short novel that I read in one evening. It is not a book that the reader enjoys, but rather a disturbing look at an ugly period of history.

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Pleasure

    A very satisfying, surprising read. When I bought it I thought it might be an interesting story, but it turned out to be an absorbing, well-written mystery-romance-historical drama that I didn't want to put down. Two tales eventually overlap one another, and you speculate as to where each will lead and how each will be resolved. It's an excellent example of what I look for in a read: the intensity of intellectual and emotional pleasure.

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  • Posted January 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Took a chance...

    Going in, I was pretty ambivalent about reading this book. I'm not usually someone who does well with romance stories. But looking at the glowing reviews I decided to give it a try. Am I glad I did!

    The story is told in two time lines. First you're introduced to Hong Kong society, just before and during the Japanese occupation at the beginning of the war. You meet Trudy, a fascinating Eurasian socialite who introduces Will to Hong Kong society. Parties and other engagements dominate their lives.

    Then you meet a fresh off the boat Claire, a young woman who joins her husband to build a life at his new job. She gets employment as the piano teacher of the teenage daughter of a wealthy couple. Claire desires to escape her humdrum life and experience the more exciting life of high society.

    The story flows smoothly between these scenarios as the characters make decisions that skirt morality in the struggle to survive. What will prove stronger? Love or practicality?T

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  • Posted August 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    the piano teacher

    reading the title somehow doubt me if this is a good love story. but then, it is a good one. the love story told in the novel is not the kind of love story that focused on the physical relationship between men n women. but rather on their feelings toward each other, their struggle in keeping the relationship. that what make this a good book to be read by those that wanted to read a romance novel minus the sexual part.

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    Different but intriguing

    I found this book to be very good. It had some intersting twists and turns but it hooked be in to the point I couldn't put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

    Piano Teacher

    Overall I enjoyed this book but the characters did not grab me and pull me in. It was the plot that was compelling. The cover doesn't fit with the character of the piano teacher.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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