Thursday, December 27, 2007

Book Review: Saving Fish From Drowning

December 27, 2007

I haven't read anything by Amy Tan in a long time (decades?)--since The Kitchen God's Wife and The Joy Luck Club-- and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy her writing style. The story here is narrated by Bibi Chen, a recently deceased woman. She is murdered shortly before she and her friends were to depart on a Christmas excursion to Myanmar, and she follows them as they proceed with their trip. Being dead, she is able to see into their thoughts and motivations, which makes for all kinds of surprises. Without Bibi's leadership, this group of American tourists bumble through Myanmar and are quickly kidnapped by a group of Karen tribesmen. The tourists don't realize they have been kidnapped and believe their "adventure" in the jungle to be a tourist special gone awry. The book is quirky, as are the characters. Tan has a wonderful ability to capture characters without stereotyping. Warning: the book jumps from character to character and requires concentration. I had to flip back several times to remember details about characters, but about midway through I was familiar enough with them to keep them straight. reviewers didn't rate this book well, but I enjoyed it and will go back and read the Tan novels I've missed in the past 15 years or so.

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