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.
"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)
Usually I like it when the author reads the story, but not for this book. Amy Tan's attempts at foreign accents were cringeworthy. Amy please stick to writing!
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
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.
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