* 2021 Taipei Book Fair Award
* 2020 Openbook Award
* 2020 Taiwan Literature Award
The literary sensation that swept every major literary award in Taiwan, The Piano Tuner is an elegiac and deceptively quiet novel about sound and music, love and death, broken dreams and desolate hearts. The cadence and precision bring to mind Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nocturnes, and Yasunari Kawabata’s Snow Country.
A widower grieving for his young wife. A piano tuner hiding a lifetime of secrets. An out-of-tune Steinway piano. A journey of self-discovery across time and continents, from a dark apartment in Taipei’s red-light district to snow-clad New York.
At the heart of the story is the nameless narrator, the piano tuner. In his forties, he is balding and ugly, a loser by all standards. But he was once a music prodigy. What betrayal and what heartbreak made him walk away from greatness?
Long hailed as a “writer’s writer”, Kuo Chiang-Sheng delivers a stunningly compact and powerful novel in The Piano Tuner. It’s a book of sounds: both of music and of the heart, from Rachmaninoff to Schubert, from Glenn Gould to Sviatoslav Richter; from untapped potential to unrequited love. This might be a portrait of the artist as a “failure”, but it is also a pursuit of the ultimate beauty in music and in love.