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The Piano Teacher

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The Piano Teacher Cover

ISBN13: 9780670020485
ISBN10: 0670020486
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the sweeping tradition of The English Patient, a gripping tale of love and betrayal set in war-torn Hong Kong.

In 1942, Will Truesdale, an Englishman newly arrived in Hong Kong, falls headlong into a passionate relationship with Trudy Liang, a beautiful Eurasian socialite. But their love affair is soon threatened by the invasion of the Japanese as World War II overwhelms their part of the world. Will is sent to an internment camp, where he and other foreigners struggle daily for survival. Meanwhile, Trudy remains outside, forced to form dangerous alliances with the Japanese — in particular, the malevolent head of the 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 is hired by the wealthy Chen family as their daughter’s piano teacher. A provincial English newlywed, Claire is seduced by the heady social life of the expatriate community. At one of its elegant cocktail parties, she meets Will, to whom she is instantly attracted — but as their affair intensifies, Claire discovers that Will’s enigmatic persona hides a devastating past. As she begins to understand the true nature of the world she has entered, and long-buried secrets start to emerge, Claire learns that sometimes the price of survival is love.

Review:

"Former Elle editor Lee delivers a standout debut dealing with the rigors of love and survival during a time of war, and the consequences of choices made under duress. Claire Pendleton, newly married and arrived in Hong Kong in 1952, finds work giving piano lessons to the daughter of Melody and Victor Chen, a wealthy Chinese couple. While the girl is less than interested in music, the Chens' flinty British expat driver, Will Truesdale, is certainly interested in Claire, and vice versa. Their fast-blossoming affair is juxtaposed against a plot line beginning in 1941 when Will gets swept up by the beautiful and tempestuous Trudy Liang, and then follows through his life during the Japanese occupation. As Claire and Will's affair becomes common knowledge, so do the specifics of Will's murky past, Trudy's motivations and Victor's role in past events. The rippling of past actions through to the present lends the narrative layers of intrigue and more than a few unexpected twists. Lee covers a little-known time in Chinese history without melodrama, and deconstructs without judgment the choices people make in order to live one more day under torturous circumstances." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

War. Love. Betrayal. The harsh lessons of history. These are big subjects for any veteran writer, and yet, in her first novel, Janice Y.K. Lee confronts them admirably. "The Piano Teacher" is an intricate tale about the British colony of Hong Kong during World War II, when the island's inhabitants were overrun by Japanese forces, suffered a harrowing occupation and emerged profoundly shaken — their... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Lee has created the sort of interesting, complex characters, especially in Trudy, that drive a rich and intimate look at what happens to people under extraordinary circumstances." Booklist

Review:

"Thrust from privilege into imprisonment virtually overnight, Lee's characters are caught up in the intrigue and collusion that were part of wartime survival. Her adept pacing slowly exposes the inevitability of tragedy that engulfs her characters. Highly recommended." Library Journal (Starred Review)

Review:

"Evocative, poignant and skillfully crafted, The Piano Teacher is more than an epic tale of war and a tangled, tortured love story. It is the kind of novel one consumes in great, greedy gulps, pausing (grudgingly) only when absolutely necessary." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Lee proves a worthier instructor than Claire does, and her novel teaches that...passion may prove as destructive as war." Miami Herald

Review:

"In her debut novel...former Elle magazine editor Janice Y.K. Lee succeeds impressively..." Minneapolis Star Tribune

Synopsis:

In the sweeping tradition of The English Patient, a gripping tale of love and betrayal set in war-torn Hong Kong.

Synopsis:

Unabridged CDs ? 8 CDs, 10 hours

In the sweeping tradition of The English Patient, a gripping tale of love and betrayal set in war-torn Hong Kong.

Synopsis:

From the New York Times–bestselling author of Me Before You, a spellbinding love story of two women separated by a century but united in their determination to fight for what they love most

Jojo Moyess bestseller, Me Before You, catapulted her to wide critical acclaim and has struck a chord with readers everywhere. “Hopelessly and hopefully romantic” (Chicago Tribune), Moyes returns with another irresistible heartbreaker that asks, “Whatever happened to the girl you left behind?”

France, 1916:  Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouards portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officers dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything—her family, her reputation, and her life—to see her husband again.

Almost a century later, Sophies portrait is given to Liv Halston by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. A chance encounter reveals the paintings true worth, and a battle begins for who its legitimate owner is—putting Livs belief in what is right to the ultimate test.

Like Sarah Blakes The Postmistress and Tatiana de Rosnays Sarahs Key, The Girl You Left Behind is a breathtaking story of love, loss, and sacrifice told with Moyess signature ability to capture our hearts with every turn of the page.

Video

About the Author

Janice Y. K. Lee was born and raised in Hong Kong and went to boarding school in the United States before attending Harvard College. She is a former features editor at Elle and Mirabella magazines in New York. The Piano Teacher is her first book.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

OneMansView, February 23, 2009 (view all comments by OneMansView)
Can a devastating past be reconciled? (4.5 *s)

When Claire Pendleton, escaping from a desultory and loveless life in England, arrives in Hong Kong with her older husband Martin, a water reservoir engineer, in 1952, she found herself lingering on the fringes of a closed, yet fragile, Hong Kong social world, comprised of native Chinese, expats, and Eurasians, that was still in the throes of trying to resolve the profound damage done to the social fabric by the brutal occupation of the Japanese in WWII. Claire seems to thrive in the steamy climate and street culture of Hong Kong, but it is her job of teaching piano to a rich Chinese couple’s daughter and her romantic involvement with their English chauffeur Will Truesdale - a peculiar employment to say the least - that literally forces her to deal with life’s complications, including what it means to love.

The book swings between the months before the occupation and its horrific aftermath and Claire’s arrival, ten years later. The author captures the idiosyncratic nature of the pre-war Hong Kong social world with the sense of entitlement of the rich, both Chinese and English, and yet with room for vagabonds such as Will, who wash up on its shores, and Trudy Liang, a captivating, dynamic beauty, half Portuguese and half Chinese, who ignores the snideness directed her way. In Will, Trudy finds a man who accepts her vibrant personality totally.

The author captures the fear that the residents of Hong Kong felt of the possibilities of a Japanese occupation, but they were also in denial of it ever occurring. There really was no way to prepare for the gratuitous violence, summary executions, the deprivations, the immediate loss of status, and the interment in harsh prison camps. But some survived, even thrived, under the occupation. A theme that runs through the book is the fine distinctions between survivors and collaborators and what constitutes cowardice. Trudy, a female used to surviving by her wits, manages to keep her freedom, but at what price. Also, in what sense do people make “choices” under the duress of an occupation by a inhumane force?

It is these WWII experiences of Will, the Chens, her employer, and the greater Hong Kong society that Claire, unknowingly, has stepped into and which are slowly revealed. Can the past be reconciled and absorbed sufficiently to permit those affected to move on – that is the question Claire and Will must resolve, if they can.

The book is an absorbing look at the impact of war on a society and individuals and its lasting ramifications. While the book is very interesting and well constructed, there is a certain amount of vagueness, perhaps incompleteness, about the story and the characters. In a way, that merely reflects the highly disturbing, damaging nature of what has occurred and the difficulties of finding clear resolutions. More so than at other times, perhaps, everyone is a work in progress.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(11 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780670020485
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Lee, Janice Y. K.
Author:
Lee, Janice Y. K.
Author:
Cassidy, Orlagh
Author:
Moyes, Jojo
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Married women
Subject:
English
Subject:
Love stories
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20091117
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Piano Teacher Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Viking Books - English 9780670020485 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Former Elle editor Lee delivers a standout debut dealing with the rigors of love and survival during a time of war, and the consequences of choices made under duress. Claire Pendleton, newly married and arrived in Hong Kong in 1952, finds work giving piano lessons to the daughter of Melody and Victor Chen, a wealthy Chinese couple. While the girl is less than interested in music, the Chens' flinty British expat driver, Will Truesdale, is certainly interested in Claire, and vice versa. Their fast-blossoming affair is juxtaposed against a plot line beginning in 1941 when Will gets swept up by the beautiful and tempestuous Trudy Liang, and then follows through his life during the Japanese occupation. As Claire and Will's affair becomes common knowledge, so do the specifics of Will's murky past, Trudy's motivations and Victor's role in past events. The rippling of past actions through to the present lends the narrative layers of intrigue and more than a few unexpected twists. Lee covers a little-known time in Chinese history without melodrama, and deconstructs without judgment the choices people make in order to live one more day under torturous circumstances." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Lee has created the sort of interesting, complex characters, especially in Trudy, that drive a rich and intimate look at what happens to people under extraordinary circumstances."
"Review" by , "Thrust from privilege into imprisonment virtually overnight, Lee's characters are caught up in the intrigue and collusion that were part of wartime survival. Her adept pacing slowly exposes the inevitability of tragedy that engulfs her characters. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Evocative, poignant and skillfully crafted, The Piano Teacher is more than an epic tale of war and a tangled, tortured love story. It is the kind of novel one consumes in great, greedy gulps, pausing (grudgingly) only when absolutely necessary."
"Review" by , "Lee proves a worthier instructor than Claire does, and her novel teaches that...passion may prove as destructive as war."
"Review" by , "In her debut novel...former Elle magazine editor Janice Y.K. Lee succeeds impressively..."
"Synopsis" by , In the sweeping tradition of The English Patient, a gripping tale of love and betrayal set in war-torn Hong Kong.
"Synopsis" by ,
Unabridged CDs ? 8 CDs, 10 hours

In the sweeping tradition of The English Patient, a gripping tale of love and betrayal set in war-torn Hong Kong.

"Synopsis" by ,
From the New York Times–bestselling author of Me Before You, a spellbinding love story of two women separated by a century but united in their determination to fight for what they love most

Jojo Moyess bestseller, Me Before You, catapulted her to wide critical acclaim and has struck a chord with readers everywhere. “Hopelessly and hopefully romantic” (Chicago Tribune), Moyes returns with another irresistible heartbreaker that asks, “Whatever happened to the girl you left behind?”

France, 1916:  Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouards portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officers dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything—her family, her reputation, and her life—to see her husband again.

Almost a century later, Sophies portrait is given to Liv Halston by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. A chance encounter reveals the paintings true worth, and a battle begins for who its legitimate owner is—putting Livs belief in what is right to the ultimate test.

Like Sarah Blakes The Postmistress and Tatiana de Rosnays Sarahs Key, The Girl You Left Behind is a breathtaking story of love, loss, and sacrifice told with Moyess signature ability to capture our hearts with every turn of the page.

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