‘People’ Picks Debut Novels

Two major debut novels (“major” meaning that both received significant advances and are being heavily promoted by their publishers) get admiring attention in the 1/19 issue of People.

The People Pick is The Piano Teacher, by Janice Y. K. Lee, garnering four of a possible four stars. Set in 1950’s Hong Kong, this “shattering, immensely satisfying debut” focuses on a romance between an English piano teacher and a chauffeur  “whose tragic love for [a] mercurial Eurasian socialite a decade earlier is the heartbreak that haunts the novel.”

The book is getting attention in the January editions of the many of the monthly magazines — O, Good Housekeeping, Body + Soul, Marie Claire — rounded up very conveniently on the author’s Web site. Read the one in Body + Soul; it will make you want to grab the book.

The author is also interviewed in this month’s Elle, where she was once the book editor. 

Most libraries have ordered in modest quantities (one per branch or less), with some holds.


The Piano Teacher

Lee, Janice Y. K.

  • Hardcover: $25.95; 336 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (January 13, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0670020486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670020485
  • Audio CD: Unabridged; $39.95
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio (January 13, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0143144413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143144410
  • Audio: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio (January 13, 2009)
  • Narrator: Orlagh Cassidy
  • 8 Tape: 978-1-4332-5669-1 $65.95
  • Playaway:  978-1-4332-5677-6 $59.99
  • 1 MP3CD: 978-1-4332-5673-8 $29.95
  • 9 CD:  978-1-4332-5670-7 $90.00

Tiffany Baker’s debut novel, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County gets 3 of 4 stars. The People review amounts to a short description,

Consigned to a reomote farm after she’s orphaned at age 12, Truly Plaice — whose huge girth repulses her rural New york neighbors — later becomes caregiver to the town doctor’s only sons. It’s in cruel Dr. Morgan’s home that she reversers her fortunes, cleverly decoding a quilt embroidered by a 19th-century witch. Truly’s complicity in her own mistreatment is hard to synpathize with, but her newfound powers inspire hope for her future.

In Sunday’s Washington Post Book World, senior editor Ron Charles practically gushes over “this gothic tale of murder, revenge and redemption.” He says the author,

…knows how to spin an alluring plot, and she tells this emotional story in a lush voice that’s spiked with just a taste of self-pity. She has a good sense of the dark comedy of melodrama, too, even if Truly’s words of wisdom are sometimes a little too — forgive me — heavy-handed.

All libraries I checked have ordered in modest quantities (one per branch or less), with some holds.


The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

Baker, Tiffany 

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (January 8, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0446194204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446194204
  • Audio 
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks.; Unabridged edition (January 8, 2009)
  • Narrator: Carrington MacDuffie
  • 9 Tape: 1-4332-4693-7; $65.95
  • Playaway: 1-4332-5648-6; $59.99
  • 1 MP3CD: 1-4332-4696-8; $29.95
  • 10 CD: 1-4332-4694-4; $90.00
  • Large Print, Hardcover: $32.95; 547 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press, (March 4, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1410413756
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410413758

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