Author: Janice Y.K.Lee
Publisher: Penguin Books
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.
This book got my head spinning. It has too many characters, all are interconnected and linked past to the present. Trudy motivated me to finish the book, because I want to find out what became of her. I’ve grown to love every ounce of Trudy. Her bravery, her passion for life, her spontaneity… bearing a bad girl image is not always bad. If a survey is made, Trudy Liang will emerge as its favorite character. Claire is her exact opposite, timid and always wanting to escape. Her happiness was undefined from the beginning to end. The missing piece to complete the love triangle is Will Truesdale. He is my least favorite character. I don’t know why, but he could’ve done so much. He was scared all his life… depending on both Trudy and Claire to save him. It’s as if he’s doomed to live in misery.
The Piano Teacher doesn’t have a good sequence, and it drags the reader back and forth. One page you’re with Claire, the next page you’ll be back with Trudy. But as secrets started to unfold, they never ceased. Every paged turned is another secret unlocked. All the excitement got bottled up in the last quarter of the book. There was a point when I wanted to stop reading, not because I find the story getting way out of hand, but out of pity for people who are agonized by the war. War made humans heartless and selfish, but every ounce brave to survive.
Lastly, I’d like to comment on the grammar. I’m not very good in English as people think but the errors were quite easy to spot. I learned a lot, though.