The Piano Tuner

The Piano Tuner

Book - 2002
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A New York Times Notable Book
A San Francisco Chronicle , San Jose Mercury News , and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year

"A gripping and resonant novel. . . . It immerses the reader in a distant world with startling immediacy and ardor. . . . Riveting." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

In 1886 a shy, middle-aged piano tuner named Edgar Drake receives an unusual commission from the British War Office: to travel to the remote jungles of northeast Burma and there repair a rare piano belonging to an eccentric army surgeon who has proven mysteriously indispensable to the imperial design. From this irresistible beginning, The Piano Tuner launches readers into a world of seductive, vibrantly rendered characters, and enmeshes them in an unbreakable spell of storytelling.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2002
Edition: First Vintage Books ed. Sept. 2003
ISBN: 9781400030385
Branch Call Number: MAS
Characteristics: 318 p. : ,21 cm.


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May 18, 2019

Listened to it as a book on CD while commuting and occasionally I found my mind wandering to other things but all it all it was an interesting tale and a bit of history that I had of course missed! I find it interesting that many would prefer a fairy tale ending, but it seems to portray real life. How great that Edgar left on an adventure of a life time rather than just existing in London tuning piano's. One does wonder however what became of his lovely wife.

Feb 09, 2019

A wonderful book, even if it wasn't a first novel. Such talent and sensitivity! Since Mason is going into the medical field, I hope that he discovers cures for the many diseases that afflict us because this choice of careers will certainly be a loss to our literature gene pool.

Jan 02, 2019

What a lovely escape this was. A British citizen is caught in an unexpected intrigue in turn-of-the-century Indo-China. Enjoyed occasional deep dives on culture of old Burma and Siam, music, and the piano tuner's skill. An unusual adventure with solid characters and even unrequited love. Gorgeous writing. Easy to read, but not light. I loved this book.

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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