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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
 (67)
4 star
 (71)
3 star
 (41)
2 star
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1 star
 (6)
Overall
3.9 (48 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (50 )
5 star
 (20)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
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  •  
    David Clyde, NC, USA 10-09-03
    David Clyde, NC, USA 10-09-03 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    214
    ratings
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    13
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    "The absolute best in reading, a true classic!"

    I firmly believe that this young author's very first novel is, amazingly, one of the finest books that I have read in my fifty odd years of reading. It is already a best seller, and I am sure that,.. two hundred years hense, it will have become one of the first true classic works of our twenty-first century!
    Be sure to read this unabridged rendering, as there is just too much to miss of this enchanting story!
    If you are a musican, historian, beggerman, ...anything..leap into the wonderous debths of this majestic work!

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob 450 Menard L ., LaSalle, ON Canada 10-10-03
    Rob 450 Menard L ., LaSalle, ON Canada 10-10-03 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
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    6
    2
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    Overall
    "Beyond words"

    The artistry in writing style is so rich that you will find yourself listening to parts over and over again. It is a combination of history artfully presented with a perfectly executed fiction line colored with poetic writing. Absolutely wonderful; you won't be disappointed.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 12-28-03
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 12-28-03 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    599
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    504
    286
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    55
    1
    Overall
    "Good Story, Bad Ending"

    This story was absolutely fascinating to me. The information on Britain's presence in India, the art of piano tuning, and all the other details the author painstakingly included made it a learning experience as well as entertainment. The narrator did an excellent job telling the story.

    But as it was coming to a conclusion, I became nervous about how it was going to end. Few clues were given. When I did finish it, I understood why. A sad reality of writers is the difficulty of tying it all up in the end. Mr. Mason did not do this at all. It was an awful ending and left me frustrated. Why would this moral, innocent, and straight forward man do this? It did not fit.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Br|hlGermany 05-31-04
    Tim Br|hlGermany 05-31-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    123
    ratings
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    29
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    2
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    Overall
    "Superlative novel ruined by a terrible narrator"

    I don't need to write much about the novel itself, the other reviewers have all done it justice. It is brilliantly written and wonderfully interwoven, full of fascinating characters and information, given authenticity by the fact that the author knows the places he is writing about and has taken the trouble to really do his homework on the history and technical information involved.

    The problem is that the narrator is simply an amateur who is not even remotely up to the task of presenting this brilliant work. It sounds as though someone had been picked off the street in London at random and then recorded the book without any direction or correction. The reader only really has one voice -- uptight and strained -- and each attempt at a character's voice is worse than the last. A male character introduced as having a "stentorian baritone" speaks in a tortured and hoarse falsetto, all women sound like demented spinsters of at least seventy who are also suffering from croup, and the less said about the narrator's pitifully painful attempts at foreign accents the better. After the second chapter I found myself beginning to flinch whenever a new character was introduced, because I knew that in a moment I would be subjected to new depths of abominable dialect and miserable characterisation, and I was never disappointed.

    If it were possible I would give the book eight stars and the narration zero or less than zero. Since this isn't possible I've decided to award the maximum possible rating because the book itself deserves it. Even so, I feel cheated because the abysmally bad narration almost completely ruined the experience of this wonderful book -- it is a tribute to the book's brilliance and power that I actually managed to listen through to the end. I am certainly going to make a note of this narrator's name and will never ever buy a book narrated by him again.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn 06-08-05
    Carolyn 06-08-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    "The Piano Tuner"

    I thought the concept was great but the writer is immature in his craft. The story was painfully slow. I would consider reading his next book as I think he has some talent but I would skip this one.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Santa Susana, CA, United States 04-26-05
    Kevin Santa Susana, CA, United States 04-26-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    92
    ratings
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    37
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    4
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    Overall
    "This is a good one"

    After first finishing this book I thought it pretty good. That was early in my Audible / audio book experience. Now that I've listened to a number of others I find myself reflecting on The Piano Tuner and realize how good it is. Descriptive writing and very good narration combined with a unique period story add up to a very good audio book. I recommend this one.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Winston Salem, NC, United States 04-04-05
    David Winston Salem, NC, United States 04-04-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    238
    9
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    "Thrilling"

    This is a real tale that takes you through Jungles, full of interesting characters and twisting plots with interesting cultural information. I would have to say I savored this one like a good piece of cake. When it was over I was looking for more titles by this author. Enjoy!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Carlsbad, CA, United States 08-06-12
    Julie Carlsbad, CA, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    68
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    60
    13
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    Performance
    Story
    "Can't forget this one - sticks with you"

    I joined Audible in 2007. Piano Tuner was among the first books I heard. Today, 2012, I still think about this book. I consider it one of the best, most unique stories I've heard. The characters are well developed. The history and the fate of the piano turner are fascinating. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. The story does start slow. The detail seems a little thick because you don't know the story is going, but then it comes together. And in the end, in some ineffable way, it doesn't leave you. I honestly don't know why I enjoyed this book so much. But five years later, I am still thinking about this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blackmac 02-21-05
    Blackmac 02-21-05 Listener Since 2002

    Must like the main characters, be intelligently written and feel like I learned something at the end.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    87
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    "Wonderful book"

    This is one of the best books I've listened to yet. The author's prose flows richly describing the events seemlessly into the plot. My only regret is that I was not able to sit quietly and take in every word but instead listened to it on my daily commute to work and back. Although some reviewers didn't care for the narrator, I thought he was very good and easy to take. My only critique of this wonderful book is the ending but that is only the last few minutes. I'll be waiting for this author's next one...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Virginia 12-14-09
    Virginia 12-14-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    4
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "long, drawn-out, with little reward"

    Beautifully written but the story of an anglo's journey to the "exotic" and colonial east is a bit tired by now. The main character is so vaporous that you don't really care what happens to him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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