The Piano Teacher Reviews
The Piano Teacher was a shoo-in for recommendation at BookBrowse - a
first novel set in an interesting place and time with excellent prepublication
reviews. Thus, on receiving one reviewer's negative response to the book,
it was reassigned to a second just to make sure. Sadly, both
reviewers are in agreement that The Piano Teacher does not live up to the hype. Both cited similar criticisms. Firstly, a general flatness to the writing
.... "it reads like a 'beach novel' - the focus is more on getting the story
told than on focusing on the particularities of how that story is being told or
on the finer nuances of character development." Secondly, that the writing has a
forced quality to it; we are told how the characters feel rather than 'seeing'
their experiences through their eyes. Thirdly, a number of factual
inaccuracies give the reader pause to wonder what other period details might be
in question; for example, in one scene set in 1953 a character refers to the country
of Myanmar - but it wasn't until 1989 that the military government of Burma changed the English version of the country's name to Myanmar.
"Starred Review. 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. Her adept pacing slowly exposes the inevitability of tragedy that engulfs her characters." - Library Journal.
"... a rich and intimate look at what happens to people under extraordinary circumstances." - Booklist.
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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The Piano Teacher Reader Reviews
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Rated of 5
The Piano Teacher by Janice Y. K Lee
I found this book in a second hand shop and was unable to put it down!
I found the way Janice Lee builds up the tension in the story by back tracking to Will & Trudy and then forward to Claire's "time" very good. It showed that Claire was as much a victim of circumstances as Trudy( and maybe as much of an opportunist in a different way to Trudy). Both women making the best of circumstances. It was good that it didn't have a trite and happy ending and that Claire developed enough backbone to live on her own and realise that she could survive without Will, and on her own terms also. For me, a truly remarkable book.
Rated of 5
Very disappointing. It sounded potentially interesting, but it really fell flat. I disliked all of the characters, especially some of the main ones, which made it difficult to keep reading. The author doesn't really give you a reason to care for the people or what happened to them. It just happened and here it is, and not in a very well-developed way.
Rated of 5
The Piano Teacher
I was browsing at a local chain book store when I happened upon this treasure remembering it listed on BookBrowse. If memorable characters, circumstance, and twist of fates interest you. I recommend this book. Simply written, yet memorable, The Piano Teacher provides plenty of visualization, twists, schemes, romance, adaptation, betrayal, and survival in bountiful, as well as trying times.