The Piano Tuner

Naishan Cheng, Author China Books & Periodicals $16.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-8351-2141-5
The Shanghai author's concern with Chinese class conflict pervades her short fiction. In the title novella, the son of a Shanghai piano tuner called ``Uncle Wen'' resents his father's shabby treatment by the wealthy families for whom he works. The son, Chiu, who assists his father, yearns to obtain a better social position. When Chiu accompanies Uncle Wen to tune the piano of a businessman's daughter, Lucy Liu, he develops a crush on her and fantasizes about entering her upper-class milieu. During the Cultural Revolution, when her parents are labeled ``enemies of the working class'' and forced out of their home by Red Guards, Lucy is hidden by Chiu and his father. Though Lucy and Chiu become friends and remain close after the Lius' property is returned, their class differences prevent them from falling in love. Naishan's stories contain realistically drawn characters who evoke sympathy, such as a ``dumpy and defeated'' revolutionary for whom society has no further use, who describes himself as ``scrap that can't be melted down and recast.'' Her plots are engrossing, although weakened by socialist rhetoric and stylized language. Nevertheless, Naishan convincingly describes families surviving the chaos and aftermath of revolution. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Hardcover - 176 pages - 978-0-8351-2142-2
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