The Hundred Secret Senses Author:Amy Tan The Hundred Secret Senses is an exultant novel about China and America, love and loyalty, the identities we invent and the true selves we discover along the way. Olivia Laguni is half-Chinese, but typically American in her uneasiness with her patchwork family. And no one in Olivia's family is more embarrassing to her than her half-sister, Kwan L... more »i. For Kwan speaks mangled English, is cheerfully deaf to Olivia's sarcasm, and sees the dead with her "yin eyes."
Even as Olivia details the particulars of her decades-long grudge against her sister (who, among other things, is a source of infuriatingly good advice), Kwan Li is telling her own story, one that sweeps us into the splendor, squalor, and violence of Manchu China. And out of the friction between her narrators, Amy Tan creates a work that illuminates both the present and the past sweetly, sadly, hilariously, with searing and vivid prose.« less
Tan's customary, illustrious writing fills this book with vivid characters that jump to life from the beginning. A sister, Kwan, arrives to the family and changes the life of the protagonist, Olivia, in profound ways, connecting her to a culture-rich history.
I read this ten years ago, yet Kwan remains one of my favorite literary characters to this day, residing with Catherine and Heathcliff.
I was not at all captivated by this book, which is unusual for an Amy Tan book. I've read her other works and I was sadly disappointed with this one. I thought the main character was self absorbed and not at all likable. I didn't sympathize with her or her "true Love". It was a bit confusing jumping into past lives and back again. I kept reading thinking that it would get better, but the ending was horrible. Yes, the main character reaches some sort redemption, however only through her sister Kwans sacrifices. I didn't care for this book, although others did.
Amy Tan sensitively draws the two main characters in this book, with all their vulnerabilities and blind spots. The reader is pulled into Kwan's "Yin World" so convincingly that in many ways it seems more "real" than the "real" world of her sister, Olivia ("Libby-ah"). This book truly enchants, and the story resolves elegantly. Beautifully written, compelling storytelling.
Not my favorite Amy Tan book, that's still "Kitchen God's Wife", but interesting nonetheless in learning cross cultural beliefs. Tan always keeps the chracters interesting and, as usual, pokes fun at them.
Very good book. Gives you a new perspective about certain aspects of life. The main character, Kwan would take you on a journey that will sometimes amaze you and others leave you confused. At the end you will realize all her stories have a lesson about life, about death, and what is really important for her, what you take in or learn from each of them.
I was not a big fan of this book. I did not think that it was written very well and it was not an exciting read. Usually I pass books onto my mom when I am done with them but I am not going to waste her time with this one. It was not horrible but it was not great either.