The Piano Tuner

The Piano Tuner

Book - 2002
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An extraordinary first novel that tells the story of a British piano tuner sent deep into Burma in the nineteenth century. 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 peacemaking methods--poetry, medicine, and now music--have brought a tentative quiet to the southern Shan States but have elicited questions from his superiors. On his journey through Europe, the Red Sea, India, and into Burma, Edgar meets soldiers, mystics, bandits, and tale-spinners, as well as an enchanting woman as elusive as the surgeon-major. And at the doctor's fort on a remote Burmese river, Edgar encounters a world more mysterious and dangerous than he ever could have imagined. Sensuous, lyrical, rich with passion and adventure, this is a hypnotic tale of myth, romance, and self-discovery: an unforgettable novel.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780375414657
Branch Call Number: FIC Mason
Characteristics: 317, [1] pages


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Jan 21, 2018

An offbeat premise that ends up being a very good read about a piano tuner who gets drawn into a world of mystery and intrigue. Very well written and engaging.

Jul 31, 2016

Here we have a story of an ordinary man who is suddenly asked to undertake a great adventure in which he soon finds himself in a situation beyond his control.
I have read some very excellent reviews of non-fiction books I have commented on in the past by both Library Journal and Publishers Weekly but I must admit that both the Library Journal and Publishers Weekly reviews above do a poor job of reviewing this excellent book.
Read it for yourself if you enjoy travel, history and music as much I do you will find this a most fascinating tale. Having lived and traveled in South East Asia for over eight years myself it was likely much easier for me to visualize what Daniel Mason describes than for some of the other commentators here. Daniel has a gift for description that few authors I have read have ever been able to approach.
I learned a lot about the history of Burma and Burma in general and a lot about piano tuning I didn't know as well.
I wish he had not cut the tale short with the sad ending but had continued the story and let the piano tuner return happily to London and his lovely wife there.
But real life has many sad endings so perhaps we must accept a few in fiction as well.

Jan 13, 2016

Read on recommendation of a friend - don't know that I'd recommend it to anybody unless they're interested in the affairs of Burma as it has a strange and not altogether satisfying ending - more questions than answers is what I found here.

kaiduke Jan 22, 2013

I couldn't decide whether he was channeling Joseph Conrad with his lengthy, detailed descriptions of the setting, or whether he was really trying to write a travel guide to nineteenth century Burma and got sidetracked. It was disappointing.

Oct 01, 2011

An interesting tale of an English piano tuner who travels to Burma during a time of political strife. (May 2007)

sharonb122 Jul 27, 2011

This was an inthralling read. It had some of everything: history, travel, adventure, intrigue, even some romance. I couldn't put it down. It was enchanting and haunting.
Crystal Lake

Nov 08, 2007


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