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 »lves deep in the jungle, where they encounter a tribe awaiting the return of the leader and the mythical book of wisdom that will protect them from the ravages and destruction of the Myanmar military regime.
Saving Fish from Drowning seduces the reader with a fagade of Buddhist illusions, magician's tricks, and light comedy, even as the absurd and picaresque spiral into a gripping morality tale about the consequences of intentions-both good and bad-and about the shared responsibility that individuals must accept for the actions of others.
A pious man explained to his followers: "It is evil to take lives and noble to save them. Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives. I drop my net in the lake and scoop out a hundred fishes. I place the fishes on the bank, where they flop and twirl. 'Don't be scared,' I tell those fishes. 'I am saving you from drowning.' Soon enough, the fishes grow calm and lie still. Yet, sad to say, I am always too late. The fishes expire. And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price. With the money I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes."« less
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.
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.
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...
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.....
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.