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The Bonesetter's Daughter | [Amy Tan]

The Bonesetter's Daughter

Set in contemporary San Francisco and in a Chinese village where Peking Man is being unearthed, The Bonesetter's Daughter is an excavation of the human spirit: the past, its deepest wounds, its most profound hopes. Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, brilliantly presents "storytelling in its oldest and truest form".
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Publisher's Summary

Set in contemporary San Francisco and in a Chinese village where Peking Man is being unearthed, The Bonesetter's Daughter is an excavation of the human spirit: the past, its deepest wounds, its most profound hopes.

The story conjures the pain of broken dreams, the power of myths, and the strength of love that enables us to recover in memory what we have lost in grief. Over the course of one fog-shrouded year, between one season of falling stars and the next, mother and daughter find what they share in their bones through heredity, history, and inexpressible qualities of love.

©2001 Amy Tan; (P)2005 Phoenix Audio. All Rights Reserved.

What the Critics Say

"In the end, it's the novel's depth of feeling that resonates and lingers. Tan writes with real soul." (Washington Post Book World)
"Storytelling in its oldest and truest form." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (568 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lori United States 07-29-12
    Lori United States 07-29-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Good story"
    Any additional comments?

    I liked the book, but it was not an edge of your seat type of book. Good to learn about different cultures. Interesting mother/daughter relationship.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 06-04-12
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 06-04-12 Member Since 2006
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    79
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    "A pretty good Amy Tan novel"
    Any additional comments?

    I was drawn to read this book because Joy Luck Club was so good. This one is good too, but it covers a lot of the same territory: ABC struggling to resolve her conflicts with her mother and her Chinese heritage. Joy Luck Club had multiple story lines to lend interest. Here, we have a multifamily story line but the focus is narrower. For some people this may add depth to the exploration. I found the specific story to be a little less than enthralling. Those working through their own similar problems may enjoy it more than I did. Amy Tan is several notches about chic lit, so I can still recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 10-30-11
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 10-30-11 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyed mother-daughter story"

    Not the sort of novel I'd normally pick up, but I enjoyed it. Tan's portrait of a challenging relationship between a daughter and a stubborn mother in the early stages of dementia is authentic and touchingly written. My willful Irish-American grandmother had Alzheimer's, and these scenes struck familiar chords. The story becomes even more involving when it travels back into the colorful past, through the mother's writings, to her life as a girl and young woman in China, where she struggles with her own real and surrogate families and endures tragedy and war. Through these memoirs, the daughter learns that her mother had kept back a few important secrets, and struggles to bring them forth from her as her mind erases itself.

    The overall setup is a little contrived, though, and, outside the central relationship of the novel, the parts of the story set in modern San Francisco are formulaic. The ending is a little too neat, as well. Yet, I found the mother-daughter story and the China story absorbing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Hope, BC, Canada 11-18-10
    Connie Hope, BC, Canada 11-18-10 Member Since 2010

    Science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction...take me away!

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    "A glimpse of the past and the sandwich generation"

    Since I am a health care professional specializing in geriatrics, I was particularly intrigued by the caregiving aspect of this novel, intertwined with another interest, family history. A recent trip to China and having read other books about China in preparation for the trip meant that I made many connections in my mind while listening to this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the two parallel stories and the resolution of the missing name. I do want to know which reader was Amy Tan!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tonya La Mesa, CA, United States 12-07-08
    Tonya La Mesa, CA, United States 12-07-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A little bland and a little sad"

    Although the main narrator does an excellent job with the Asian accents, the rest of her narration is very monotone, dull and lacking a sharpness that's necessary when telling a story. The story itself is a little dull as well. I think it would be a better read than it is a listen.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Julesburg, CO, United States 03-30-08
    Sandra Julesburg, CO, United States 03-30-08 Member Since 2003
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    "Another winner"

    I enjoy Amy Tan's work because she is not only a terrific storyteller, but a master of the craft of writing. This book is fascinating and Ms. Tan's cool voice adds to the enjoyment of listening to it. It kept my attention all across Iowa and Nebraska.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle waycross, GA, USA 02-21-08
    Michelle waycross, GA, USA 02-21-08 Member Since 2005
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    "loved it"

    Not being asian it is always a treat to get insight in the the traditions and history of another culture from an authentic storyteller. And it brings it full circle when we can make the ass0ociation that as much as we are different, there we are, just human with the same issues good and bad. I always enjoy amy tan's work.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela San Antonio, TX, USA 04-18-07
    Pamela San Antonio, TX, USA 04-18-07
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    "Mediocre"

    I have read many Asian inspired novels, and this one hardly measures up to the standard I'm accustomed to receiving. Since Joy Luck Club, I have not been attracted to Amy Tan's writings because they seem to end up the same way...old world meets new world. I thought this one might be different based on the story line, and although I liked a few of the characters, it ended up the same as the others - present day back to the past and back to the present again. The bone collecting portions of the narration are a little confusing at times, and I didn't have the patience with the writer who appears to assume the audience is constantly up to speed on this kind of tradition. Needless to say, the listen didn't keep me captivated enough to want to go back and review some of the puzzling rituals for clarity. There are much better books available for the money.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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