Feb 11, 2023

The Piano Tuner by Chiang-Sheng Kuo: Sunday Salon

 


The Piano Tuner: A Novel by

Published January 3, 2023, Arcade
My rating: 5 stars

All through the book, I struggled to find out the real reason a musical prodigy would fail to realize his potential as a pianist and instead devote his life to tuning pianos used by famous concert pianists.

The mystery is still up in the air, but there are hints throughout the book of boyhood poverty, lack of family support and interest, his uncomely appearance, and above all, the failure of others to carry out their vague promises or hints of help for his personal future.

Disappointment is the theme of this complex character, who seems to put himself at a lower lever in all aspects of his life, romantic and otherwise.

Also an unreliable narrator, he shows us his world through his ideas of concert pianists, musicians, fame, and tuning versus playing the piano. We must make up our own minds about this fascinating yet unnerving character and what his interactions with well known musicians, teachers, and would be patrons really show.


What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday

 

41 comments:

  1. Interesting. It's always illuminating to read about someone who doesn't maybe live up to what we would think they should. Someone with a ton of talent who maybe chooses a different path...

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    1. This was the piano tuner, for sure.

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  2. It's an interesting idea for a novel. Why would a musical prodigy end up choosing to work as a piano tuner rather than a pianist?

    The author must have done a good job for you to rate the novel so highly.

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    1. The book won several prizes in his home country, Taiwan.

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  3. Do you think the author failed at explaining why a gifted pianist would become a piano tuner? Or do you think it was supposed to be suspenseful?

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    1. He certainly had me guessing, to the end, so it wasn't suspenseful, but his character was definitely of interest.

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  4. This is very interesting. I'm always curious as to why people with talent don't always rise to their potential.

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    1. This is one man's intriguing view of his own talent.

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  5. I like the unique premise for this novel. And I love that I'm finding so many unusual books through your blog recently. Have you read Fish Swimming Through Dappled Sunlight? It's translated from Japanese also and seems to have sort of the sensibility of some of the books you've been reading lately. I think you might enjoy it. Have a terrific week - happy reading.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys
    https://www.bookshelfjourneys.com/post/sunday-post-37

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    1. Fish Swimming through Dappled Sunlight is on my shelf waiting to be finished. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the visits.

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  6. Sounds like an interesting book overall. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. An unusual Taiwanese writer and book. Thanks for visiting, Mark.

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  7. What an intriguing book! If the narrator is unreliable, maybe he is exaggerating how likely he was to succeed as a virtuoso. I know that many music students of great promise don’t end up in music at all, or else end up in some sort of support role like this one. I think I need to read it and find out.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. He was told by his teachers while quite young at school, that he was a prodigy, Mae. But his family was not interested in following up. One of his teachers pushed him to study further. He was unreliable, in my opinion, in his attitudes to other people, but not in this.

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  8. I'm intrigued by the concept of this book. Great review!

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    1. Thanks, Yvonne. It gives you lots to think about.

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  9. It almost sounds a bit depressing...a musical prodigy not playing any more, but you gave it 5 stars so it must not be that sad of a book?

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  10. Interesting premise. I was a music minor in college and while I was not very talented I love the music. The point is if I was talented I might not want it to be my job, rather just enjoying the music. Because if it was my job, I might lose the pure love of the music.His work would keep him near the music without the stress of performance?

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

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    1. He did say that tuning an artist's piano brought him closer to the music than playing.

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  11. I'm not familiar with this book, but ti sure sounds interesting. Unreliable narrators keep you guessing...

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  12. What a beautiful cover! Glad to hear it was a 5 star read!

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    1. I couldn't decide if the piano tuner was or was not in love with this pianist and music teacher he worked for.

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  13. Doesn't sound like my sort of book but it does sound intriguing. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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    1. If you like literary fiction, this is for you. This one is more complex than regular books.

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  14. This sounds like a very moving and thought provoking book. I have been wondering about it and am so glad you reviewed it here. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

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    1. Hope you get a chance to read it and share your thoughts

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  15. Ooh, I haven't read much from Taiwan!
    https://wordsandpeace.com/2023/02/12/sunday-post-78-02-12-2023/

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    1. I've read Ed Lin who writes mysteries set in Taiwan.

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  16. Sounds interesting!

    Jill
    All The Books I Haven't Read

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  17. Hmm... not sure how I feel about this book but yet I'm intrigued since you gave this a 5-star rating.

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    1. It's a little challenging, for sure. But a good one.

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  18. Seems like an unusual character - underestimating himself in each realm hmm

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    1. Sad character overall, but he does have his passion in tuning pianos.

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  19. Replies
    1. I had questions about his views of people and the world, so I called him unreliable. Is he really, though?

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  20. Oh, this one sounds interesting! I'm trying to read more translated fiction, so I'll be adding this one to my list! - Melinda @ A Web of Stories

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  21. Burton & Wilson, The Piano Craftsmen Was Founded By Robert A. Burton In 1951. The Wilson Family Joined The Firm In 1975.

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