SEVEN CIRCUMSTANCES

Book Reviews & Essays on Literature

The Piano Teacher, by Janice Y.K. Lee

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The Piano Teacher, by Janice Y.K. Lee

The Piano Teacher, by Janice Y.K. Lee (Penguin Books; 3rd ed., November 17, 2009)



In 1952, recently married ingénue “Claire Pendleton” arrives in Hong Kong with her dull husband, and gets involved with the enigmatic chauffeur of the wealthy couple for whom she works as a piano teacher. The story flashes back and forth between the characters as they are in post-war Hong Kong, a time of retribution and denunciations, and as they were in 1942 during the Japanese occupation of the British colony, when people compromised and plotted to survive. After a slow start, the novel becomes quite intriguing, with disturbing and unusual characters, and a completely unexpected, yet appropriate ending.

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