Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee


Paperback:  331 pages                                                                                               
Genre: Historical Romantic Fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins 2009
Source: Oxfam Bookshop Salisbury
First Sentences: It started as an accident. The small Herend rabbit had fallen into Claire's handbag.
Review Quote: 'Former Elle editor Lee delivers a standout debut dealing with the rigours of love and survival during a time of war, and the consequences of choices made under duress…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 judgement the choices people make in order to live one more day under torturous circumstances' Publishers Weekly
Favourite Quote: “And in the end, I think, we're all just trying to survive, aren't we?”  
Main Characters: Claire Pendleton, Melody Chen, Victor Chen, Will Truesdale, Trudy Liang
Setting: Hong Kong
My Opinion: I enjoyed this probably more so as Hong Kong holds a special place in my heart. A powerful love story set in Hong Kong during the second World War, an interesting portrayal of life in Hong Kong during that unsettling period. The story of Will and Trudy's love during the war years was the part of the novel I enjoyed the most. It is a much stronger narrative than the part about Claire, the Piano Teacher of the title. This novel will probably appeal to those interested in not only a moving love story but also Hong Kong.

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

"A rare and exquisite story...Transports you out of time, out of place, into a world you can feel on your very skin." -Elizabeth Gilbert

In the sweeping tradition of "The English Patient," Janice Y.K. Lee's debut novel is a tale of love and betrayal set in war-torn Hong Kong. In 1942, Englishman Will Truesdale falls headlong into a passionate relationship with Trudy Liang, a beautiful Eurasian socialite. But their affair is soon threatened by the invasion of the Japanese as World War II overwhelms their part of the world. Ten years later, Claire Pendleton comes to Hong Kong to work as a piano teacher and also begins a fateful affair. As the threads of this spellbinding novel intertwine, impossible choices emerge-between love and safety, courage and survival, the present, and above all, the past.

Video Trailer for 'The Piano Teacher' Courtesy of YouTube

Author Profile

Janice Y.K. Lee
Janice Y. K. Lee was born and raised in Hong Kong, the child of Korean immigrants. She went to the United States for school and graduated from Harvard College with a degree in English and American Literature and Language.

After college she moved to New York and worked for several years as an editor at Elle and Mirabella magazines before getting an MFA from Hunter College and starting her first novel. The Piano Teacher was published to critical acclaim from the New York Times, People, and O magazine, among others. It spent 19 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, was a Richard and Judy Summer Read pick (UK), and was translated into 26 languages worldwide.

Janice’s writing has appeared in ELLE, Mirabella, Glamour, and Travel and Leisure, as well as numerous other publications.

She lives in New York City with her husband and four children.

Photographs and biographical information courtesy of the following sites.

Goodreads - Author Profile    Janice Y.K.Lee - Twitter 

Author Official Website


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