The Piano Teacher

  • by Janice Y. K. Lee
  • Narrated by Orlagh Cassidy
  • 10 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wonderful, and the narrator a jewel

I'm dismayed to see such vicious reviews about this book and its audio production. Although I've been an audible.com member for over 5 years, this is the first time I've been moved to write a review - for good or ill. And before getting started, I thought I'd read the two reviews before me. Is it possible they listened to the same book????

I found this story to be completely engrossing, with such richly drawn characters and an introduction to a world I knew nothing about. I was captured completely, pretty much to the exclusion of everything else going on in my life. (Thankfully it's the holidays so nothing much is being expected of me right now.)

And the narrator, I thought, was absolutely amazing. Her acting is nuanced and insightful. Her variety of accents was perfect. And I actually will seek out books she's narrated. Please keep using her!

I really don't know what my two predecessor reviewers were talking about. I thought it was terrific.

10 stars!
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- Martha Finney

Mediocre Chinese Soap Opera

"The Piano Teacher," which is less about the title character, than it is about several other
characters is a shallow, but fairly interesting tale of life in Hong Kong before WWII, during the Japanese occupation, and for about a decade thereafter. It had great possibilities, but ultimately disappointed. The main characters were unoriginal and recognizable from any number of old grade B movies, and in other geographical settings, from soap operas that endlessly repeat hackneyed recognizable character themes. You'll find an amazingly handsome English expat hero, a naive teacher who has an adulteress affair with him, her hapless, but good, husband, and several very rich, reprehensible people who cause endless problems for others, but whose exotic backgrounds and lavish lives provide escapist interest. The plot moves forward with enough momentum to have kept me listening, but fell short of any satisfying conclusion. The historical situs of the novel is a fascinating chapter in history, but the author has only a superficial grasp of it, but still, enough to make it sound authentic. A much better book about the same period is "Hiroshima Joe: A Novel," by Martin Booth. "The Piano Teacher," while not exactly a waste of time, could be easily replaced by time better spent. As for the narrator, I felt neutral about her: she didn't add to, nor detract from, the listening experience.
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- Howard

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-13-2009
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio