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