The Piano Teacher: A Novel by Janice Y. K. Lee

Our book club book for September was The Piano Teacher.  The book begins with a young bride who has come to Hong Kong with her husband and finds work as a piano teacher for a young girl in her home.  This takes place in the 1950’s.  There is a second alternating storyline in the book which takes place in Hong Kong during World War II.  The choices made during the war echo and reverberate within the other storyline.  Claire, the piano teacher of the title, begins an affair with the chauffeur of the house who is a pivotal character in the second storyline, which ultimately leads to the dissolution of her marriage. 

While I found the information about Hong Kong during the war to be informative about a topic in history of which I knew almost nothing, I really didn’t feel invested in any of the characters of the book.  One of the worst parts of the book is a side storyline about Claire stealing from the home where she teaches.  It has absolutely no bearing on any events in the story and no one in our book club could figure out why it was in there.  The book and the story had potential, but it was never fully realized.

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