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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    83
  • 4 Stars
    109
  • 3 Stars
    93
  • 2 Stars
    60
  • 1 Stars
    47

Performance

  • 3.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    43
  • 4 Stars
    38
  • 3 Stars
    43
  • 2 Stars
    19
  • 1 Stars
    18

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    47
  • 4 Stars
    42
  • 3 Stars
    37
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    14
Sort by:
  • Overall

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • rhonda
  • HOPKINTON, MA, United States
  • 11-12-08

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • 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.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Babette
  • Loveland, CO, United States
  • 02-02-11

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good story let down by narration

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!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Beyond tedious

I got the audio for this book, which my book club was reading, since I was having such a hard time getting into the printed version. I figured if I was captive in a car as I made back to back three hour drives that I would be able to become immersed in the story. Unfortunately that did not prove to be the case. The book is painful - contrived, tedious, flat. I couldn't believe in the narrator at all, and believing in the narrator requires a big buy in from the beginning. The whole thing felt very forced.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

One of her best

I love Amy Tan and this one is excellent. Kinda different but really well done.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Peggy
  • Grants Pass, OR, United States
  • 08-02-10

Great Idea, execution -- not so much.

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • jo johnston
  • 08-17-10

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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • April
  • 04-22-14

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