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The Piano Tuner | [Daniel Mason]

The Piano Tuner

In October 1886, Edgar Drake receives a strange request from the British War office: he must leave his wife and his quiet life in London to travel to the jungles of Burma, where a rare Erard grand piano is in need of repair. On his journey to Burma, Edgar encounters prophets and thieves, soldiers and tale-spinners, and an enchanting woman as elusive as the surgeon-major who owns the piano will turn out to be. Edgar encounters a place more mysterious and dangerous than he could ever have imagined.
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Publisher's Summary

In October 1886, Edgar Drake receives a strange request from the British War office: he must leave his wife and his quiet life in London to travel to the jungles of Burma, where a rare Erard grand piano is in need of repair. The piano belongs to an army surgeon - major whose unorthodox peacekeeping methods - poetry, music, and learning shared with local warring princes - have brought a tentative quiet to the southern Shan States but have elicited questions from his superiors about his loyalty. On his journey toward Burma - across Europe, the Red Sea, and India - Edgar encounters prophets and thieves, soldiers and tale-spinners, and an enchanting woman as elusive as the surgeon-major will turn out to be. And, on Burma's vast rivers and in her abandoned cities, Edgar encounters a place more mysterious and dangerous than he could ever have imagined.

©2002 Daniel Mason; (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Richly imagined, The Piano Tuner winds like a lazy river, carrying the reader into the mythic land of Kipling and Conrad." (People)
"A novel for readers of literary and popular fiction alike; highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"Malcolm creates the aura of another world and time filled with exploration, adventure, and self-discovery." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (197 )
5 star
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3.9 (48 )
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Story
4.1 (50 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Wendy ny, NY, USA 10-20-07
    Wendy ny, NY, USA 10-20-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    200
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Unique"

    Well read interesting story, departure from usual genre; but written in classic style. Educational but not pedantic. Seemed to end too quickly for me tied loose ends together after a long journey.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith Wilton, CT, USA 07-31-07
    Judith Wilton, CT, USA 07-31-07 Member Since 2005
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
    Overall
    "Unforgettable"

    The reader is immediately drawn into the protagonist's world and cannot escape. Unforgettable and disturbing reality. We have all had a 'piano tuner' experience at one time in our lives. Very well read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. D Strother Potomac, MD United States 01-24-07
    C. D Strother Potomac, MD United States 01-24-07 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    95
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    59
    34
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    1
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    Overall
    "kinda of slow and not credible"

    I did not have any problem with the narrator, He seemed just fine to me.

    As for the book itself, perhaps I just do not fully get the point. There does seem to be a lot of symbolism floating around. There is some good writing, and the writer is pretty good at describing scenes and the like, but there is too much discussion of landscape and the like. Also, sometimes there seems to be just too many words. It seemed sort of original in sections, although very much like an inverse Heart of Darkness. At other times it seemed like a shifting mix of adventure story, existential tome, and magical realism.

    Bottomline, it was worth reading, but I sure do not think it is a great novel. For those that think it is a great book, what exactly is the great teaching here? And what is the ending supposed to mean, or teach us or whatever? Other than that the author had to wrap it up somehow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Lake Leelanau, MI, USA 01-12-05
    Mark Lake Leelanau, MI, USA 01-12-05
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Reader has little range"

    I had heard such great things about this book that I was keen to hear it read. Unfortunately, I wish I had read it instead. The reader has the clipped, overdramatic tone of Mr. Peterman on Seinfeld, paintng "word pictures" of exotic journeys to faraway lands. This is an impressive first novel, but needs a better reader, one with more sensitivity to his subject. Women's voices are especially badly done, coming across as old ladies with sore throats. The men alll sound alike.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Mcdowell 09-17-03 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    76
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    190
    31
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    FOLLOWING
    2
    11
    Overall
    "Fantasy and History"

    The background information about the British presence in the far east was very interesting and informative. The plot is very unbelievable, but the action of the story carries the listener along.

    9 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry United States 06-13-05
    Terry United States 06-13-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    102
    24
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    1
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    Overall
    "Why didn't I turn it off?"

    Very boring, the writer had very little imagination; you never connect to the Piano Turner. The ending as he tried to dramatize it just strengthen the fact the book was a bore. Had I been reading this I would have closed the pages at around chapter 4 or 5.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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