This book has been on my TBR pile for a such a long time and I am so glad I finally picked up The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason and read it.
In late October, 1886, specialist piano tuner Edgar Drake receives an unusual request from the British War Office. He is asked to leave his quiet life and his wife in London and accept a mission which will lead him through the jungles of Burma to tune a rare Erard grand piano. The piano belongs to Surgeon-Major Anthony Carroll, an enigmatic British officer, whose success in making peace in the war-torn Shan States is legendary, but, whose unorthodox methods have begun to attract suspicion.
Edgar, the soft spoken lover of music and piano's heads off across Europe, the Red Sea, India and Burma until he finally reaches the Shan States. En route he meets some fascinating characters and during his journey he reads the letters written by the Doctor to the War Office and becomes intrigued by the surgeon before he meets him. He starts to wonder if his life will ever be the same again after this journey which becomes an epic adventure, not least of all when he meets Doctor Carroll in person and sets to work on the piano. As well as falling in love with the country, the piano and the people Edgar also meets a beautiful woman who is mysterious and like no other woman he knows, Khin Myo. His enchantment with Khin Myo makes him hesitate when it is time for him to return to London, after his work is done. He has become forever changed.
This was such a well written book, I felt as if I was with Edgar all the way through his journey, which in many ways only really began when he reached Burma. The descriptions of the Burmese countryside, the breathtaking views and the larger than life characters were masterfully done. I read it in only two sittings and couldn't put it down. Nothing, however, prepared me for the ending which I hadn't expected at all.
The Piano Tuner is the tale of a simple, gentle man who loves his work and who is flattered when considered by the War Office to be the necessary expert required to make this journey to fix the rare Erard piano. He sees the world with a poets vision and is enchanted by all the new and exotic things he encounters along the way. I liked Edgar instantly and didn't want the story to end.
Have you read The Piano Tuner? What did you think of it?