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The Piano Tuner: A Novel by Daniel Mason

The Piano Tuner: A Novel (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Daniel Mason

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2,437693,846 (3.55)85
Title:The Piano Tuner: A Novel
Authors:Daniel Mason
Info:Vintage (2003), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:own, unread

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The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason (2002)

  1. 20
    Burmese Days by George Orwell (Anonymous user)

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English (63)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this book. From the start you could tell Edgar Drake was not going to return. As Dr Carroll wrote in his last note, he ate of the lotus flowers and forgot about home. ( )
  gayjeg | Apr 25, 2019 |
In 1886, British piano tuner Edgar Drake received a request from the British War Office to tune an Erard piano for a Dr. Anthony Carol who was using unorthodox methods to bring about a peace treaty between the Shan people and the Limbin Confederacy during the British colonial occupation of Burma. Edgar leaves his beautiful wife Katherine in London to make this trip to the primitive land of the Shan people.

What develops is a mystical story. It is one that is steeped in history but has characters so real that it is, at times, hard to distinguish between fact and fiction. That a magnificent piano should be in the heart of the Shan people is almost as incongruous as the presence of British soldiers in their land. The pace of the story is very slow. While that seems difficult to handle at first, one must realize that the distant land of the Shan people of Burma is a far different ambience from that of bustling city life in 19th century England. This is a story most unlike any other I have read and is quite a remarkable tale woven from much research by debut novelist Daniel Mason. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Sep 24, 2018 |
Such a beautifully descriptive novel of Burma. It seems so lovely, musical and dream like. You really have to root for the little, quiet , shy piano tuner who innocently embarks on a grand adventure to tune a Erard Grand piano in the jungles of Burma. ( )
  Smits | Apr 15, 2018 |
A competent writer - but fails to sustain the reader's interest
By sally tarbox on 29 September 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
I'd give this 2.5* as although it has some good writing, it failed to keep me reading and I only managed 100 pages.
This is the story of a Victorian piano tuner in London and his strange summons by the War Office to go to Burma. In order to keep a valuable member of their staff out there, they have grudgingly acceded to the man's request for a grand piano, and his subsequent demand for a tuner. This whole section felt contrived, the official's efforts to discuss the Burmese political scenario with Edgar Drake (the tuner) unlikely. But if this is a device to embark us on a good story, fair enough.
The next part was well-written; Drake wandering through 1880s London, home to inform his wife of his decision, their final days...
And then the lengthy voyage at sea... Here the captain engages us in a long discussion on the life stories of his interesting passengers (too much random info - and unless they all crop up later on, irrelevant.) And we hear the mystical adventure of the 'Man with One Story' - there's certainly a magical feel to this journey. But Drake is also given copious notes on Burma, forwarded by the piano-owner - all reproduced for the delectation of the reader - tribes, dacoits, warlords...
I was intrigued by little hints that the author inserts - we know a woman will figure in his future. It appears he might disappear... We wonder about a possible link to the mystical narrative mentioned.
But not enough to feel I could pursue it any further - it's going back to library today. ( )
  starbox | Sep 29, 2017 |
Set in Burma in 1886, this novel brings Edmund Drake into complicity with the dashing Surgeon-Major Anthony Carroll's visionary dream. A profound adventure story with an unexpected climax, as the mild piano tuner finally becomes the hero of his own life. ( )
  christinedux | Jun 7, 2017 |
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
"Brothers," I said, "o you who have crossed
a hundred thousand dangers, reach the west
to this brief waking time that is left
unto your senses, you must not deny
experience of that which lies beyond
the sun, and all the world that is unpeopled."

Dante, Inferno, canto XXVI
Music, to create harmony, must investigate dischord.

For my grandmother, Halina
First words
In the fleeting seconds of final memory, the image that will become Burma is the sun and a woman's parasol.
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Book description
When Edgar Drake is summoned to the British War Office and asked to tune an eccentric major's 1840 Erard grand piano in the jungles of Burma, he is both confused and intrigued. The year is 1886, and the British Empire is attempting to tighten its control of its colonies in the Far East, to fend off French rivals in the Mekong Delta, and to quell the resistance of a confederacy of local Shan tribes in northern Burma. As Edgar embarks on his first trip abroad, the beauty and mystery of Burms, its customs and music, and an exotic woman named Khin Myo cast a spell that he cannot resist. Written in a prose capable of both historical precision and mystical lushness, The Piano Tuner explores British colonialism at a moment of crisis and the ill fortune of a man who confuses "the cause of music" with the cause of empire.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0330492691, Paperback)

On a misty London afternoon in 1886, piano tuner Edgar Drake receives a strange request from the War Office: he must leave his wife, and his quiet life in London, to travel to the jungles of Burma to tune a rare Erhard grand piano. The piano belongs to Surgeon-Major Anthony Carroll, an enigmatic British officer, whose success at making peace in the war-torn Shan States is legendary, but whose unorthodox methods have begun to attract suspicion. So begins the journey of the soft-spoken Edgar across Europe, the Red Sea, India, Burma, and at last into the remote highlands of the Shan States. En route he is entranced by the Doctor's letters and by the shifting cast of tale-spinners, soldiers and thieves who cross his path. As his captivation grows, however, so do his questions: about the Doctor's true motives, about an enchanting and elusive woman who travels with him into the jungle, about why he came. And, ultimately, whether he will ever be able to return home unchanged to the woman who awaits him there ...Sensuous and lyrical, rich with passion and adventure, "The Piano Tuner" is an unforgettable and haunting novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:14 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"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 cover p.4.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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