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With 'The Piano Teacher,' Janice Y.K. Lee mixes tragedy into a love affair -- New in Paperback
Publish: 2009.11.16 Source: Singapore EEBO|Music Teaching|Piano Training|Secondhand Piano|Music Books-Http://www.eeboedu.com Click:
 

In 1953 Hong Kong, Claire Pendleton does what many bored, unhappy wives do: She has an affair. But this affair, one of the two plot threads in Janice Y.K. Lee's beautifully haunting novel "The Piano Teacher,"  has tragic undercurrents.

British ex-pat Claire takes a chauffeur named Will as her lover. He drives the wealthy Chens, whose daughter Locket is Claire's piano student. Charismatic, enigmatic, Will seems to be hiding something.

In the alternating plot thread, the reader learns what. It's the early 1940s, and the Japanese occupiers of Hong Kong have interned the British along with other non-Chinese nationalities. Will adjusts to camp life but cannot forget Trudy -- 'the cousin of Melody Chen, Locket's mother -- with whom he has been having a passionate affair. When Trudy begins to bring him food and small luxuries, his realization about why she can do such things builds toward a devastating betrayal.

Lee's portrayal of colonial Asia and thinly stretched morals brings to mind W. Somerset Maugham, while Elle magazine called the novel "this season's 'Atonement.' "

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