I have to admit that I picked up The Piano Teacher mainly because of it's stunning cover - I know this is something you should never do but a great cover will grab me every time. I had also read some good things about this one in the blogging world - mainly from Matt - so I did have something to go on besides the beautiful cover!
The Piano Teacher is a book set over two main time periods - 1942 and then 1952/3 in Hong Kong. Will Truesdale is an English man who has come to Hong Kong and fallen in love with Trudy, a wealthy and privileged Eurasian woman, in the period just before the invasion of the Japanese. In 1952 we meet Will again, now working as a driver for an influential couple who have hired Claire, a recently married woman and new in Hong Kong, as a piano teacher for their daughter.
There are some significant events and plot constructions in the novel but for me the real content of the book was the development and "showing" of the characters - just simple dialogue between them was what I enjoyed reading - it wasn't really until the end of the book that I stopped and thought about the plot.
I have to say that I don't think my reading patterns with this book really did it justice. I started it weeks ago and then got distracted/bored with the middle section of the book so I put it aside for a while and picked it up again last night when I finished the second half of the book in one sitting. I think this says more about my need to be reading a book that suits my mood at the time more than anything else.
The characters in The Piano Teacher are intriguing and complex, and written beautifully - at the end of the book I still felt like I had so many questions in relation to each of them - particularly Will and Trudy.
I would call this a subtle book - it crept up on me and I will be thinking about it long after finishing.