Wednesday 6 June 2012

The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason

This is a wonderfully rich novel following piano tuner Edgar Drake as he travels to the interior of Burma to tune a piano. This is 1886, the piano belongs to Major Anthony Carroll, an enigmatic British officer and medical doctor. Edgar has an eventful time getting to Carroll's home and is then won over by the beauty of the place and of Carroll's mysterious companion.

The novel is full of insight into the Burma of the time, British colonial ideology and also the value of individualism vs national policy.

Anthony Carroll proves himself to be very much in tune with the locals, he is always prepared to learn from local herbal cures for illnesses (and leads Edgar on botanical expeditions) which probably made him way ahead of his time.

I was very drawn into the narrative and descriptions in this book. It is also a very good example of a book that is not overtly about an environmental theme but through one character (here the Major and his interest in local botany) manages to cover quite a lot of ground about nature and the environment and hopefully can reach people who are not 'interested' in such things.

I reviewed this as part of Brighton Blogger's Reading Challenge 2012


bunnits said...

I read this not long after it came out in 02 or 03. Really enjoyed it.
Thanks for posting about it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I find it difficult to get into period books Juliet, but you have made it sound interesting so I shall look out for it.

EG CameraGirl said...

Sometimes a subtle "hit in the head" about the environment is a good thing. :))

Cuby said...

If only there was time to read all the recommended books. This sounds a good one.

RG said...

I'm almost finished with "Out of Eden" about Invasive species (so I am several books behind!) But - interestingly - we just had this huge piece of dock wash up on an Oregon beach from Japan - the tsunami - with many many organisms from over there on it. And this is just the first of so many things coming to our beaches ... should be an interesting time here in the Pacific NW regarding invasive species - so I am happy I am reading the book!

Crafty Green Poet said...

bunnits - it's a good read isn't it?

Weaver, it is interesting! I'm more likely to read period fiction the older I get.

EG CameraGirl - Indeed!

Cuby - too many books, too little t ime!

Rabbits Guy - I'm impressed how many of the books I review you actually read! Excellent! Glad you're enjoying Out of Eden & finding it useful!