Friday, 31 July 2009

Cover Art - the Piano Teacher

These cover art comparisons are interesting. I think Penny's Silk is the best version of the green dress and appropriate (I noticed it immediately in Sainsbury's.) As for the Piano Teacher, set in Hong Kong, the paperback cover with the red parasol is by far the most striking, I reckon. What do you think? (sorry about the white space beside the pix, cannot work out how to get rid of it without downloading all the covers all over again.)

Later: Just finished The Piano Teacher by Janice YK Lee. The historical background is excellent and it was interesting to read a book set in both 1950s and wartime Hong Kong, seen from both a British and upper class Chinese point of view. Yes, there is snobbery on both sides. I've come away from the novel feeling I didn't especially like any of the main characters but I followed them willingly. The well-researched scenes in the POW camp ring true, but other parts of the novel seem somewhat fragmented. For instance, the young Englishwoman Claire (the piano teacher) steals a few items from her Chinese employers, but then stops, so this aspect of the plot is not explored. (Unless this is symbolic of the fact that the British took Chinese land and then gave it back.) The beautiful author is Korean by birth and has lived in both Hong Kong and the US, so that gives her a different perspective on the behaviour of Brits (mostly not that good). Her well-drawn, rich Eurasian heroine Trudy reminds me of the brittle sophisticated Chinese princesses in The Last Emperor.
Elle magazine dubbed The Piano Teacher this year's Atonement. Misleading - the two novels have little in common apart from being partly set in WW2.
Janice Lee took five years to complete the book, possibly because she was moving to Hong Kong and having four babies while trying to write.
Though I have one or two reservations about the plot and characters, it is a debut novel well worth reading. The author has a particularly good sense of time and place.


Jan Jones said...

I agree, Susie. Red parasol without a doubt.

callmemadam said...

I agree about the red parasol version; it seems to suit the book better.
I crop pictures like that in Paint Shop but perhaps you don't have it? It's a commercial product but there may be similar free or tryout software.

Debs said...

I've just received my copy of Silk (care of the long-suffering postman) and am looking forward to reading it. I love the cover.

I agree with you, the red parasol is by far better and more appealing than the other one.

sablonneuse said...

Thoroughly enjoyed Tropical Connections and now my husband wants to take it into hospital with him on Tuesday even though he doesn't usually read novels.
I won't spoil it for other readers by saying too much about the plot but I was very pleased there was a happy ending for Grace.

Susie Vereker said...

Thanks for visiting, ladies. Glad you agree about the cover. Sablonneuse, I'm so delighted you enjoyed Tropical Connections - and thank you very much for taking the trouble to say so. That's absolutely made my day.