The Piano Teacher by Janice Y. K. Lee
A Novel

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Janice Y. K. Lee

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JANICE Y. K. LEE was born and raised in Hong Kong and graduated from Harvard University. A former editor at Elle magazine, she currently lives in Hong Kong with her husband and children.
 
Published December 1, 2008 by Penguin Books. 348 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Piano Teacher

Kirkus Reviews

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A historical and romantic narrative, alternating between the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II and a time roughly ten years later that follows the tragic consequences of that occupation.

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The New York Times

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But while the inevitable “who did what and when and why” that dominates the last third of the novel is satisfying because it answers all those questions, readers will be more enthralled by Lee’s depiction of Will’s relationships with his two lovers — “Claire, with her blond and familiar femininit...

Jan 16 2009 | Read Full Review of The Piano Teacher: A Novel

BC Books

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There were English businessmen and American bankers, White Russian aristocrat, and Peruvian entrepreneurs…and, of course, there were the Chinese, quite different in Hong Kong from the ones in China, she was told.” While the upper-class society of Hong Kong arranges itself by caste rather than ra...

Dec 04 2009 | Read Full Review of The Piano Teacher: A Novel

Book Reporter

Claire knows that Will was damaged during the war, but this newcomer to Hong Kong has no real sense of what those who lived through the war experienced and suffered.

Jan 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Piano Teacher: A Novel

Christian Science Monitor

Populated with a cast of “wandering global voyagers,” Lee unfurls her story, set in Hong Kong during and after World War II, layer by layer and in cinematic snippets.

Jan 31 2009 | Read Full Review of The Piano Teacher: A Novel

Suite 101

The article describes how colour can be used as a means of revealing hidden patterns within text - such as the works of Shakespeare.

Feb 01 2009 | Read Full Review of The Piano Teacher: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Jessica Reaves Dallas Morning News 4 of 5 Stars "Strong, fresh characters and an exotic Hong Kong setting make Janice Lee’s debut historical novel a pleasure to read.

Jan 04 2009 | Read Full Review of The Piano Teacher: A Novel

Oprah.com

"I hope I don't destroy you," whispers the seductive Trudy Liang, a nervy, glamorous Hong Kong socialite, to Will Truesdale, a wildly attractive Englishman with a practiced aversion to love.

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Reader Rating for The Piano Teacher
66%

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