The Piano Tuner
An extraordinary first novel that tells the story of a British piano tuner sent deep into Burma in the nineteenth century.
In October 1886, Edgar Drake receives a strange request from the British War Office: he must leave his wife and his quiet life in London to travel to the jungles of Burma, where a rare Erard grand piano is in need of repair. The piano belongs to an army surgeon-major whose unorthodox peacemaking methods—poetry, medicine, and now music—have brought a tentative quiet to the southern Shan States but have elicited questions from his superiors.
On his journey through Europe, the Red Sea, India, and into Burma, Edgar meets soldiers, mystics, bandits, and tale-spinners, as well as an enchanting woman as elusive as the surgeon-major. And at the doctor’s fort on a remote Burmese river, Edgar encounters a world more mysterious and dangerous than he ever could have imagined.
Sensuous, lyrical, rich with passion and adventure, this is a hypnotic tale of myth, romance, and self-discovery: an unforgettable novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
“A gripping and resonant novel. . . . It immerses the reader in a distant world with startling immediacy and ardor. . . . Riveting.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“An ambitious, adventuresome, highly unusual first novel that offers pleasures too rarely encountered in contemporary American literary fiction. . . . [Mason is] a gifted, original and courageous writer.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Luminous. . . . Mason’s writing achieves that kind of reverie in which every vision, tone, flavor and sensation is magnified.” —Los Angeles Times
“Intoxicating, full of sights to see, histories to learn, stories to entertain.” —USA Today
“Remarkable. . . . A profound adventure story.” –The New Yorker
“Inspired. . . . The Piano Tuner is a brilliant debut.” –Miami Herald
“Reminded me of books I read by flashlight, under the covers, when I was young.” –USA Today
“Mason’s writing achieves that kind of reverie in which every vision, tone, flavor and sensation is magnified.” –LA Times
“Excellent. . . . [Mason’s] powerful prose style and his ability to embrace history, politics, nature and medicine . . . [is] astonishing.” –The New York Times Book Review
“The Piano Tuner is a haunting, passionate story of empire and individualism. . . . [Mason is] a gifted writer.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“This wondrous work of fiction . . . artfully weaves psychology, politics, medicine and music theory into a polyphonic composition. . . . A virtuoso performance.” –Newsday
“[A] very fine first novel. . . . Its author is rich in talent and promise.” –Philadelphia Inquirer
“Daniel Mason’s ambitious, lyrical The Piano Tuner . . . [possesses] genuine moments of ominous beauty. . . . Readers . . . should be intrigued by the mix of historical detail, lush settings, and equally lush language.” –San Jose Mercury News
“A smart, entertaining adventure.” –Christian Science Monitor
“An intense, shimmering dream of a story.” –Grand Rapids Press
“Mason has improvised a virtuoso tale . . . a complex and subtly imagined adventure.” –Guardian Unlimited
From the Trade Paperback edition.