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Saving Fish from Drowning
Saving Fish from Drowning
Author: Amy Tan
A provocative new novel from the bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter's Daughter. — On an ill-fated art expedition into the southern Shan state of Burma, eleven Americans leave their Floating Island Resort for a Christmas-morning tour-and disappear. Through twists of fate, curses, and just plain human error, they find themse...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780399153013
ISBN-10: 0399153012
Publication Date: 10/18/2005
Pages: 474
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 196 ratings
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

natalexx avatar reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 52 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I had a hard time getting through the first chapter of this book. It all became relevant later, but at the beginning I wasn't that interested in hearing about the narrator's childhood and funeral and all that. It was confusing and I think it should have been more integrated. Once the story delved into the tourist trip, the "dead narrator" device became interesting. Unfortunately, the tone continued to ramble up until the last third of the book. There would be times I was very interested in the storyline, but then the narrative would go flying off in some other direction and my mind would wander. The novel would have been better served if she'd stayed with the surprisingly compelling kidnapping plot, allowed herself to adopt the thriller conventions to her own use, and sacrificed a few chapters for relevance. I did love the way it ended, where she made it clear that the events of the book changed the lives of the characters, but did not totally remake the world or their worlds, individually. So the character notes were well done. Amy Tan employs a certain epigram-like writing style in this book and frequently drops in a little bite-sized line containing some poignant insight. The book overall is uneven, but it's an enjoyable book.
gsisk avatar reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 184 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Very good book, even though the story drags a bit at times. An American Chinese woman arranges a trip to Burma for herself and a group of friends. She dies before the trip begins, but accompanies her friends as a ghost. The group gets into trouble, due to their general ignorance and cultural insensitivity. One morning the whole group disappears. Very nice characterizations.
reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
While not Amy Tan's best- It drags but the premise is good and it is different. If you like Amy Tan you will like this novel. I had a hard time with it but I actually love the narrator- Bibi and her sense of humor. I feel like she is truly an "Amy Tan" creation. I am also learning a lot from Bibi's tour guide teaching as well as her perspective on the other chracter's thoughts and ways. BUT I cannot relate to any of the other characters at all nor can I feel for them... so I trudged along with this book for Bibi...
reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I was so excited to read Amy Tan's newest book but I was so disappointed! This book is weird, boring, confusing, and nothing like Ms. Tan's other great novels. I only made it half way through and I had to force myself to get that far. Save yourself from drowning in this one.
sewingnancyl avatar reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 78 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Amy Tan writes a lovely book following a group of friends that take a trip together to Burma. The tour guide has died prior to the trip, but goes along to narrate the book. We hear from the characters in their own words and the narrator tells us the real happenings. Very interesting read... some asian history mixed in to make it exciting and informative.
What really happened to the tour group when they vanished while on an expidition.....
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c-squared avatar reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 181 more book reviews
I put off reading this book for a long time because of the horrible reviews. I can see some of the reviewers points, but overall, I really enjoyed this novel.

This is definitely a departure from Tan's normal novels about the relationships between Chinese-born mothers and their Chinese-American mothers. Although she does a wonderful job capturing the dynamics of those relationships, while weaving in fascinating glimpses of Chinese history, I'm glad to see her trying something new.

A few of the characters in this novel are Chinese, but the majority are not. One of the criticisms I have read is that she has too many prominent characters and therefore spreads her character development too thin. I agree somewhat, but beyond the narrator, the recently deceased, but always bigger than life Bibi Chen, the plot is more important.

Plot-wise, this is also a huge change for Tan. This is an adventure novel which ventures into the land of magical realism. This begins with the idea that Bibi's spirit is following her friends on the trip through China and Burma that she was supposed to lead.

Thrown into the mix is a glimpse of life in the military regime of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

Overall, this was a great read, which I found to be relatively quick, despite it's healthy length.
Abuelalea avatar reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on
Best Amy Tan ever in my opinion and that's saying a lot. A good, rich, funny, honest, surprising adventure, love story, fantasy. Do yourself a favor and read this one if you've ever enjoyed
reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on
i enjoyed reading this book.. Its a good mystery set in China. Amy Tan is a great writer.
buzzby avatar reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 6062 more book reviews
Amy Tan's transition from sublime to ridiculous. I recognized the behaviour of the members of more than one tour I have been on. But not very profound.
reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 10 more book reviews
Amy Tan is one of the most interesting writers around. This book Saving Fish From Drowning, caught my interest right away. The setting in Burma is exotic, and the characters are interesting. Plot twists in the story kept my interest. I recommend this book highly.
reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on
Very different from the Amy Tan stories I've read before.

I enjoyed knowing what the narrator knows, and seeing what miscommuncation was just around the bend. Funny and ironic.
buzzby avatar reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 6062 more book reviews
I would agree with Anna that it's a little weird. One strand parodies events in Myanmar in the past 10 years (the Htoo twins), another pokes fun at American tourists, and the narrator is a hoot. It had a great beginning and a great ending, with the middle being weird.
mountainreader avatar reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 113 more book reviews
This is a great novel by a great author. She is most famous for her novel The Joy Luck Club. This is her newest novel and is very worthy of reading!
Tipppytoes avatar reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 24 more book reviews
I almost quit. But after the 2nd cassette it became fascinating. I couldn't stop listening. It has action, suspence,descriptions of real people in real relationships, & perceptions from many cultures as well as ages from children to adults. It left me searching my soul & questioning my values. Near the end, I understood why the first 2 cassettes were necesssary. They set up the background which the rest of the story depends on. I loved it!
reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 25 more book reviews
Having just returned from my first trip to China, I appreciated having a chance to mentally remain in the Far East by listening to this book, read by the author Amy Tan. The story is about a group of American tourists visiting Burma who cannot be found after an early morning boat ride. The story is rich in character development with many mystical and cultural elements. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was sorry when the book ended.I looked forward to my ride to and from work every day just so I could listen to the next chapters.
buzzby avatar reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 6062 more book reviews
I suppose that Amy Tan was going through an artistically dry and frivolous time when she wrote this book, because it doesn't have the pathos of her other books. Still, it's amusing.
reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 13 more book reviews
Engaging and compelling.
reviewed Saving Fish from Drowning on + 81 more book reviews
Wonderful story with ghosts, murders, intrigue, comedy and political comment about a group of tourists who disappear while on a trip through Burma. Great characters - hard to put down.


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