BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee [in Christian Science Monitor] [in Bloomsbury Review]

Piano TeacherSomething about Janice Y.K. Lee’s debut novel, The Piano Teacher, whispers, “Watch me.”

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. Captured in clipped, almost abbreviated language, The Piano Teacher paints vivid pictures in quick strokes.

Lee, who is of Korean heritage, was born and raised in Hong Kong and educated at Harvard. She writes with a director’s eye. Her timing is ingenious and controlled, and she knows exactly how much she’s willing to reveal from one moment to the next.

The eponymous piano teacher is Claire Pendleton, a newly arrived émigré and the provincial young wife of a British government engineer whom she married “to escape the dark interior of her house, her bitter mother.” She arrives in 1952 Hong Kong with myriad preconceived notions about the “unscrupulous, conniving” locals. But the city is nothing as she expected and she finds herself especially wide-eyed over the affluent Chinese, “the ones who seemed English in all but their skin color…. She hadn’t known that such worlds existed.” …[click here for more]

Reviews: Christian Science Monitor, January 31, 2009

“In Celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: New & Notable Books,” The Bloomsbury Review, May/June 2009

Readers: Adult

Published: 2009



Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: