The Piano Tuner
By Daniel Mason
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400030385, 336pp.)
Publication Date: August 19, 2003
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In 1886 a shy, middle-aged piano tuner named Edgar Drake receives an unusual commission from the British War Office: to travel to the remote jungles of northeast Burma and there repair a rare piano belonging to an eccentric army surgeon who has proven mysteriously indispensable to the imperial design. From this irresistible beginning, The Piano Tuner launches its protagonist into a world of seductive loveliness and nightmarish intrigue. And as he follows Drake’s journey, Mason dazzles readers with his erudition, moves them with his vibrantly rendered characters, and enmeshes them in the unbreakable spell of his storytelling.
Daniel Mason received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard in 1998 and spent a year studying malaria on the Thai-Myanmar border, where much of The Piano Tuner was written. He is currently a medical student at the University of California, San Francisco.
“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