Part eulogy, part fond memoir, part political thriller, this novel resurrects the forgotten literary phenomenon that was Pearl S. Buck, and it renews one’s admiration for both Buck and Min. China has always been a subject of fascination and inquiry for Westerners.
This, Rose Melikan’s debut novel, is far more entertaining and plausible than the second novel in the series, The Counterfeit Guest (2009). She starts well, but cannot sustain the style in the subsequent novels. Call it writer’s fatigue if you wish, but it went from OK to bad.
“The Piano Maker” is a historical romance, well-researched, with interesting detail, no anachronisms that I could pick up, with a twist of romance and mystery, competently written. However, the author fails to address the connection between artistic consciousness and the world, and the book has too many unconnected themes.
Julian Barnes is a writer who does not waste words. While his subjects are often difficult and his novels contain references to specialized subjects, his writing is accessible to all readers through his clear ideas, deep understanding, and well-considered use of language.