Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Piano Tuner - By Daniel Mason

Just finished reading the 'Piano Tuner' by Daniel Mason. When I saw that the author is only 26, American and a medical doctor I was quite unsure if I even want to consider buying and reading this book. However, looking closer I saw that it was set in 1886 and had something to do with the British Empire attempting to overcome the resistance of a Confederacy of local Shan tribes in northern Burma. This seemed a very unusual subject and did not seem to fit my stereotype of what a 26 year old American first time author doctor should be writing about. Expecting the unexpected I picked up the book.

Having just finished the book, the first expression that comes to mind is 'WHOA". Daniel Mason can write !! The manner in which the book brings alive the journey of the protagonist Edgar Drake (a Piano tuner who is commissioned to tune a Piano in Burma) from London to the Shan hills in Burma is classic stuff. The treatment is mystical and exotic to say the least. The author is clearly well travelled and the initial impression of the stereotype seemed almost laughable when I finished the book.

I am still amazed that this is a first book by a 26 year old. His style of writing is a bit like Ishiguro, where the literary content of the prose is matched only by the intrigue and mystery that the Novel manages to evoke in the reader. The mystery and a feeling of "what will happen next" starts right from the beginning when Edgar Drake after deciding to take the Journey to Burma pronounces, "and Burma is Far" till the last page of the book.

Overall a remarkable debut by a very promising young writer - Hurrah !


suchi said...

hey Dev ,

was fun reading your blog. Am esp glad you are reviewing books ! I am always on the look out for good books to read .. but never know which ones to try . Will surely try a few of your recos .. but am HIGHLY !! doubtful that our tastes will match :))

btw .. you have assesed your skills very correctly and you should defintely write more :) I for one will look fwd to reading whatever you have to say . Good luck my friend !


Dev said...

thanks a lot suchi. Hopefully, this will be one of my initiatives, that will have some sort of continuity.

I am suspicious of our reading interests matching too :-) , but I read all sorts of stuff these days, so you never know. Tho, I have a feeling u will like the Piano tuner a lot.

suchi said...

then I'll just have to read it and find out I guess !

suchi said...

then I'll just have to read it and find out I guess :)

Nash said...

I am reading the book based on your blog. It's interesting so far. Finished about 50 pages. I am a slow reader but will let you know what I think about this book.

... and Congratulations on your own blog space. Will visit every once a while.


Dev said...

thanks Avinash - hope you like the book. Do share your comments with me when you finish it. Look forward to seeing you on the blog as well as your comments again.

arun said...

Stumbled upon your blog while browsing. I have read this book and share your views!!!!