Daniel Mason’s historical novel, The Piano Tuner, takes place primarily in Burma of the 1880’s. Mr. Mason tells the story of a London-based piano tuner who accepts a mission from the British War Office to travel to the jungles of Burma to tune an 1840’s Erard piano, which is owned by an eccentric surgeon-major in the Shan Plateau.
Our discussion centered around the lush description of the landscape and life in the colonies of the British Empire during the 19th century. Several participants thought that the title of the book should have been The Piano, rather than The Piano Tuner, because the story really told more about the life and death of the Erard piano than of the piano tuner.
One person said the descriptions of life during the Raj brought back many memories of her life before she came to the States. Another person wanted to hear Burmese music and taste Burmese food to better understand the Burmese people. We discussed the fact that taste and audio are a wonderful addition to reading about different cultures.
All in all, most participants liked the book and were fascinated to hear more detail about the history of music and the art of piano tuning from one of our members. The discussion was lively and interesting!! We all agreed that this tale would make a wonderful movie or TV miniseries!
We will not have a book club meeting in December. The next time we meet will be in January.