I am an Amy Tan fan, however this book was not one of her best. The plot was unusual, and had great potential, but the end result was less than satisfying. I liken it to a puddle rathan than a lake -- a thousand miles wide and an inch deep. None of the characters were developed sufficiently to cause me to care much about them (or even remember which was which). The three stars are for the innovative plot, and the information gained about Burma that I didn't have before.
Wasted almost four hours of my life, hoping this story would improve. By the time I finally gave up I was completely ambivalent regarding the fate of any of the characters. Don't waste your points.
If you like Amy Tan books you should get this one. I dont think the publishers summary was the best for this particular book. Though this book has a different flavor than most of Amy Tans other books it is still just as good. She is such a good story teller and I thought she was wonderfull narrating this book. It is a good one
Years ago I worked at Barnes & Noble and used to suggest to customers that they SHOULD choose books by the covers! I've rarely been disappointed in a book I chose because I loved the cover. This book has a GREAT cover, which is why I bought a copy when I found it on sale recently at B&N. I was fascinated by the introduction, then by the story, and the characters. I bought the audible version because it was just taking me too long to READ the book (my reading time is the 15 minutes before I fall asleep each night. It took me two weeks to get through Kafka's "The Metamorphosis"!) Also, I got a bit confused by the action once the group got "lost"; I needed to concentrate on it a bit more, I thought. Listening to it turned out to be a great way to finish it, and I'll be able to listen again in a couple of years and enjoy it all over again.
Amy Tan excels at character development, and her stories are always interesting, well researched and plausible - I could easily believe they are non-fiction. And this book was, at times, REALLY funny! I laughed out loud several times - always at something Bibi said - she was a delightful character! I didn't love all the characters, which I prefer; all I need is ONE to root for, and at least one to dislike.
Unlike some other reviewers, I really liked Amy Tan's narration. Some of the accents she used were not very good - but I forgave that immediately. After all, she is a WRITER, not an actor.
This audiobook makes you appreciate professional narrators. Ms. Tan's accent, though slight, drops some consonants, which makes it hard to follow. In addition, her voice level rises and falls in a way that a professional's would not do, and it's hard to follow her when her voice fades off.
I was a high school history teacher and a physician assistant-retired.
Amy Tan is losing her ability to tell an interesting story. Her characters are flat and uninteresting. The plot strains credulity, but interestingly enough, the narrator who died at the start of the story, has the best lines and is the most compelling person in the novel.
A posthumous narrator weaves a tale of art collector intrigue and trophy collecting from beyond the grave. A guided tour of Burma and other Khmer dynasty (sic?) locales that I can't remember are part of an art tour that goes wrong.
While this book passes the both the Bechdel test and the readability index, I blanked during it a few times. What I tend to remember are insights about this previous mysterious social set, Chinese ladies of leisure. This is mostly satire as passages here and there describe a vapid, if charmingly snarky group and their gatherings.
I found the sibilant mewling of the reader pretty grating, but appropriate to the gestalt of the woman in question. I preferred Tan's crisp, well-paced style when she covered sympathetic characters. It's been twenty years but I thought the "Kitchen God's Wife" was quite affecting from what I can recall.
You definitely wouldn't want to read this book while frying.
I'm an ardent Tan fan.
Too many words at times, not enough magic. A touch of cultural empathy, but not so much as to enlighten. A bit repetitive on the political theme.
Perhaps this audio, read by Tan, didn't work for me- whatever the words. Tan's voice is lovely, but monotonous after awhile. Often too sweet, cloying.