The Piano Teacher

by Elfriede Jelinek, Joachim Neugroschel | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1852427507 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingshnedwardswing of Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on 11/16/2005
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6 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingshnedwardswing from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 16, 2005
With it's cold, detached descriptions of sex and violence, this one is not for the faint-hearted. A self-absorbed piano teacher tolerates a claustrophobic relationship with her mother, which then seems to be threatened by the passionate love of one of her adolescent students. A battle for emotional control ensues. I would have loved to read this at university - I would have really got my teeth into it. For leisure, though, I think I prefer something with more laughs.

Marks have been knocked off for the mediocre translation that jars in places (pairs of shoes don't stand about, they lie about!) and can't seem to make its mind up whether it's US or British English (faucet is used in one place and then tap later). Shoddy.

Thinking of including this one in my first bookbox. Is reserved until then.

Journal Entry 2 by wingshnedwardswing from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Sunday, May 14, 2006
Released as part of the Bad Girls bookbox

Journal Entry 3 by billhookbabe on Sunday, December 31, 2006
Given to me by a fellow book crosser for release, think I will read it first though. Will release if I don't.

Journal Entry 4 by billhookbabe on Thursday, January 25, 2007
Putting back into the Bad Girls Bookbox which is going to the next participant.

Journal Entry 5 by wingshnedwardswing from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 11, 2007
And it's come home again!
Reserved for bookray

Mailing order:

perfect-circle, UK
nawoo82, UK
aava, Finland
okyrhoe, Greece
RustyReader2, Canada <---here

Ray being continued with a replacement copy, here: http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/6323324

Journal Entry 6 by wingshnedwardswing from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Friday, June 01, 2007
On its way to perfect-circle. Hope you enjoy it!

Journal Entry 7 by perfect-circle from Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Saturday, June 02, 2007
Arrived this morning. I'm in the middle of a couple of others at the moment but should get to this in a couple of days. Thanks!

Journal Entry 8 by perfect-circle from Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Thursday, June 14, 2007
I signed up for this because it's on the 1001 books to read before you die list and I am a sucker for those type of lists. Some of the books on them can be such a struggle to read but this wasn't one of them. I would never have come across this without that list and I'll be on the lookout for more of Jelinek's work.

I found the mother-daughter relationship fascinating, partly because I fear turning into an obsessive, controlling mother with my own daughter, and throughout the early part of the book, I felt almost claustrophobic reading it. Definitely not a leisurely read but absorbing nonetheless.

Thanks shnedwards for sending this out. I'll be posting it to nawoo82 later today.

Journal Entry 9 by nawoo82 from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Sunday, June 17, 2007
Got it yesterday. I have already started it. Looks like it will not take me long to read it.

Journal Entry 10 by nawoo82 from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Sunday, July 08, 2007
Well, that took me longer that I thought. It was really hard to get into the story. I didn't enjoy reading it and a few times thought about just stopping and sending it on. But I still have trouble leaving a book unfinished so I kept reading it.

I agree with Shnedwards, I probably would have loved studying this book at university, but it's too disturbing for a light home read.

I have emailed aava for her address. I will send the book as soon as I get it.

Journal Entry 11 by nawoo82 from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Monday, July 16, 2007
I have sent the book today to avva. I hope you enjoy it better than I did.

Journal Entry 12 by aava from Dals-Ed, Västergötland Sweden on Friday, August 03, 2007
The book is with me. Will try to start with it asap.

Journal Entry 13 by aava from Dals-Ed, Västergötland Sweden on Sunday, August 19, 2007
I have seen the film adaptation twice and I thought it was hight time I read the book. The film by the way is really good so I was expecting this to be good as well.

I have to agree with others that this is not light summer reading.... At first I found it hard to get interested in this, but after 50 pages or so, somehow I was starting to get sucked into Erikas life. It's such intense text and subject,it's like a massive wave hitting you and taking you into sea.

I can't say that I enjoyed reading this(as in having a good time, relaxing, this is not that kind of book) but in a way I did. I don't know how to explain this... The world of Elfriede Jelinek is black and violent, but there's a lot of beautiful and fascinating things in there as well.

Thank yoy shnedwards for the opportunity to read this book. I'll PM okyrhoe for the address so the book can keep going.


edit 26.8.2007: Sorry for the delay... But I've finally mailed the book, hope it will travel safely to Greece.

Journal Entry 14 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Thursday, August 30, 2007
Arrived in my p.o. box today. Thanks shnedwards for adding me to the bookray, and also aava for sending it to me!

Journal Entry 15 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Thursday, October 04, 2007
Since I had already seen the film adaptation of the novel, I concentrated mostly on the literary style and narration as I was reading this.

I find Jelinek's writing extraordinary. A dark and disturbing tale, sharply critical of contemporary Western society, punctuated by moments of (black) humor. Just when you feel the narrative is too oppressive or overpowering, here comes a tragi-comical moment, or a sarcastic word pun to provide relief.

Although I know nothing of musical composition, the pacing of Jelinek's writing must in some way resemble a musical piece, with respect to the narrative style. Mostly Jelinek is brutally honest with respect to her characters; a few rare times she sympathizes with them. Sometimes she portrays her characters in such a way that allows the reader to understand the underlying motivation; sometimes the author prefers to depict the characters as inscrutable, leaving the reader in the dark. Other times Jelinek openly makes her authorial presence known -- as the force controlling the fate of her characters. The novel in this respect varies in tone and mood, something that is not always successful in fiction, but necessary (I assume) in a musical piece.

I wanted to substantiate my comments here with certain phrases from the novel, but I've noted down so much I'm ready to write a thesis! I'll just quickly mention the elements I feel are indispensable to the overall thematics of the novel, but which are not fully presented in the film adaptation: the incident of Erika versus the 'First Viennese Trolley Court', the battles between male/female sexes & Turkish/Austrian cultures in the Prater park, the banality of art (or at the very least, the banality of the teaching/learning of art), the numbing/dumbing effect of the everpresent TV set, etc.

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On its way to RustyReader2.

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