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Saving Fish from Drowning | [Amy Tan]

Saving Fish from Drowning

Twelve American tourists join an art expedition that begins in the Himalayan foothills of China - dubbed the true Shangri-La - and heads south into the jungles of Burma. But after the mysterious death of their tour leader, the carefully laid plans fall apart, and disharmony breaks out among the pleasure-seekers.
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Publisher's Summary

Twelve American tourists join an art expedition that begins in the Himalayan foothills of China - dubbed the true Shangri-La - and heads south into the jungles of Burma.

But after the mysterious death of their tour leader, the carefully laid plans fall apart, and disharmony breaks out among the pleasure-seekers as they come to discover that the Burma Road is paved with less-than-honorable intentions, questionable food, and tribal curses. Then, on Christmas morning, eleven of the travelers boat across a misty lake for a sunrise cruise - and disappear.

Drawing from the current political reality in Burma and woven with pure confabulation, Amy Tan's picaresque novel poses the question: How can we discern what is real and what is fiction, in everything we see? How do we know what to believe?

Saving Fish from Drowning finds sly truth in the absurd: a reality TV show called Darwin's Fittest, a repressive regime known as SLORC, two cheroot-smoking twin children hailed as divinities, and a ragtag tribe hiding in the jungle - where the sprites of disaster known as Nats lurk, as do the specters of the fabled Younger White Brother and a British illusionist who was not who he was worshipped to be.

With her signature "idiosyncratic, sympathetic characters, haunting images, historical complexity, significant contemporary themes, and suspenseful mystery" (Los Angeles Times), Amy Tan spins a provocative and mesmerizing tale about the mind and the heart of the individual, the actions we choose, the moral questions we might ask ourselves, and above all, the deeply personal answers we seek when happy endings are seemingly impossible.

©2005 Amy Tan; (P)2005 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A superbly executed, good-hearted farce that is part romance and part mystery....With Tan's many talents on display, it's her idiosyncratic wit and sly observations...that make this book pure pleasure." (San Francisco Chronicle)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.2 (299 )
5 star
 (52)
4 star
 (83)
3 star
 (75)
2 star
 (51)
1 star
 (38)
Overall
3.3 (84 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (9)
Story
3.2 (82 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    bulldoglady 01-26-09
    bulldoglady 01-26-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    211
    6
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    "one of my favorites"

    This is a keeper! I'm on my second listen, and I am enjoying it even more than the first time. I am now playing it for my husband, and he likes it too.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada 07-16-09
    Sandra Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada 07-16-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    84
    3
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    "The Importance of the Narrator"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rhonda HOPKINTON, MA, United States 11-12-08
    rhonda HOPKINTON, MA, United States 11-12-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    12
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    Overall
    "Slow Read"

    Decent story, but takes too long for anything to happen, and it goes on forever. There are other, better stories by this author.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Westbury, Australia 07-21-08
    Karen Westbury, Australia 07-21-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    160
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    Overall
    "Great book, shame about the narrator"

    This well written book is intriguing from the start and promises to be an absorbing read. However, as an audio book it is very disappointing. Amy Tan is a wonderful writer but her narrating skills are not so developed. In addition to reading in a monotone, she eats her words and her sentences trail off to an almost inaudible point. I gave up on trying to listen to it when I realised I was getting tense with straining to hear her properly. If the only audio version of this book has Amy Tan as the narrator, I recommend full enjoyment of the story in print.

    19 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GERALD Calgary, AB, Canada 06-19-10
    GERALD Calgary, AB, Canada 06-19-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    "A struggle to get through"

    I almost gave up a couple of times, but my miserly ways got the best of me and I managed to finish it. The biggest problem with this book is the reader. I thought that having the author read her own work would be a plus instead of a minus, but it all comes down to competence. If you want a good audio book you need a skilled and experienced reader. A good reader brings life and believability to the story. They have to be able to create multiple personalities, both male and female, with different voices and different accents. Ms Tan unfortunately does not have this talent. She's especially bad at doing the male voices (no surprise). The story itself is also pretty bizarre and hard to get into. At the end of it all I found that I was glad I finished it, but it would have been so much better with a professional reader.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna PLANO, TX, United States 03-20-10
    Donna PLANO, TX, United States 03-20-10 Member Since 2008

    Growing up in England, surrounded by amazing literature, I was devastated when my eyesight made reading difficult. Audible is truly a gift.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    "Not Pleased"

    I love Amy Tan books, but this was a disappointment. It is hard to stay with and just sort of off. I'll always continue to follow Amy Tan, but I wish I had not bought this audio book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl Riser Mangham, LA 12-30-09
    Darryl Riser Mangham, LA 12-30-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Wonderful voice"

    I'll admit I had to fight the instinct to skip over all of Amy Tan's work as being "chick fiction," but I'm glad I didn't. The characterization and storytelling is rich and developed. The story is amusing and it truly does feel as if the reader is being told a story. As for Amy Tan's voice, the Asian and California accents are spot on and I found her tone conversational, which made the novel more enjoyable ... as if I were being told a story by someone who had been there.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Babette Loveland, CO, United States 02-02-11
    Babette Loveland, CO, United States 02-02-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "I Love Amy Tan"

    I couldn't wait to start listening to this book. I am a huge Amy Tan fan. It was a good book but I didn't like it as much as her other novels. I found the characters to be a little boring and I didn't really understand the psychic interpretation, but its worth a credit. I recommend this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lily St. Augustine, FL, USA 08-18-09
    Lily St. Augustine, FL, USA 08-18-09 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "She had me BEFORE page 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.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis Washington, DC, United States 08-25-08
    Dennis Washington, DC, United States 08-25-08

    Tell us about yourself! I am a former high school history teacher and now, a semi-retired physician assistant.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wrap This Fish in Newspaper"

    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.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 20 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • jo johnston
    8/17/10
    Overall
    "Truly terrible narration"

    I found the narration of ?Saving Fish From Drowning? unbearable at times with a British accent an all time low. It is a shame as I normally find authors as narrators are very enjoyable. I found the subject matter of Burma interesting, but I didn?t really like or care about any of the characters or the mystery. It was a real struggle to finish and an example of how bad narration can put you off a book and an author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • April
    Westbury, United Kingdom
    4/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Did not like Narrator"
    What would have made Saving Fish from Drowning better?

    Not a lot did not like the narrator nor the story line, read from the view of a dead person, introduction very long


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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