Mercy, a recent Columbia graduate without a safety net, is adrift, undone by a terrible incident in her recent past. Hilary, a lonely housewife, is haunted by her struggle to have a child, something she believes could save her foundering marriage. Meanwhile, Margaret, once a happily married mother of three, takes every opportunity to escape from her life in the wake of a shattering loss. Chapter by chapter, the novel draws the reader into their stories and gives us glimpses of expatriate life’s surprising contradictions in Hong Kong, where these women are both insiders and outsiders, incredibly privileged but deeply unsatisfied, and attempting, above all, to connect with others and regain a sense of self that has slipped away. As each woman struggles with her own demons, their lives collide in ways that have irreversible consequences for them all.
As the synopsis tells us this is a story of three dissimilar American women who live in the same small expat community in Hong Kong whose lives through unseen circumstances intertwine. Each woman telling her own story as she experiences it. The women explaining of the obstacles or pleasantries that are dictating their life as an expat. The author did a fascinating job of creating the deep inner feelings and the intimate personal lives of each woman. I found the expat life interesting yet bizarre for the families who are living in Hong Kong for jobs. Such as, you have a cook and housekeeper, and even a driver unlike your life back in the states. So as a housewife what is your new place in the home? Therefore, as the reader, you learn a great deal about the positives and negatives of Hong Kong. I did feel the story lagged at times and also thought that the ending is too abrupt. Whereas, it would have been more interesting for the women to have spent more time together. I found the book a likable read.
This is the giveaway! A copy of the book, in a beautiful box with a magnetic closure!
Janice Lee was born in Hong Kong to Korean parents and lived there until she was fifteen, attending the international school. She then left for boarding school in New Hampshire, where she learned the true meaning of winter.
From there, she moved south to Cambridge, MA, where she spent four years at Harvard, developing a taste for excellent coffee, Au Bon Pain pastries, and staying up all night, sometimes indulging in all three at the same time. She also pleased her parents by meeting, on the very first day of school, the man who would become her husband.
After graduating with a degree in English and American Literature and Language, she relocated down to New York where she got her first post-college job fetching coffee as an assistant to the beauty editor at Elle magazine. After a few months booking massages learning about the cosmetics industry, she heard about a job in the features section and was able to switch departments and return to her true roots, being happily inundated with books on a daily basis.
She was about to graduate with no definite plans when she received a letter from Yaddo, the artists’ colony, saying that her application for a summer residency had been approved. She also found out she was pregnant with her first child.
At Yaddo, she started to organize her thoughts into what would become THE PIANO TEACHER. After she had her first child, she put away the book for a year, adjusting to her new life as a mother. Then she had another child and picked it up again. Then she moved to Hong Kong. When she found out she was pregnant with her third and fourth (twins!) she had all the incentive she needed to finish the book, seeing as how she might not have any time to do anything ever again. Five years after she started it, she had a good first draft and sold THE PIANO TEACHER two months before she gave birth to the twins. When she told her mother she had sold her first novel, her mother asked whether Janice's husband had been the buyer. Really.
"Thank you Penguin Books for letting me do this review & Giveaway"
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