Welcome to a well-tempered novel featuring J.S. Bach’s masterpiece, The Well-Tempered Clavier. In his 2002 novel The Piano Tuner, Daniel Mason uses highly descriptive language related to the sense of sound to recount the adventures of a man whose livelihood depends on his ability to listen: an English piano tuner.
How did an Erard grand piano successfully travel, in 1886, from England, across the ocean, along the rivers, over the mountains and through the jungle to a British-occupied town in war-torn Upper Burma? How does this piano rate the personal attention of Edgar Drake, an unassuming Londoner who advertises himself as an expert in Erard pianos?
These questions, peculiar as they are, fuel the plot of this beautifully-crafted novel. It’s such a beautiful book, in fact, that I can’t even manage to be flippant while describing it. If you read The Piano Tuner, you will see the rivers, jungle life, and Burmese people; but above all, you will hear the monsoon rains and the laughter of children playing in the water and most especially music and song.
Bach’s piano music carried along through the air of the Burmese jungle. Can you imagine it? Can you hear it in your mind? I promise you, this novel will take you to a time and a place where this is possible. Enjoy the journey.