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Saving Fish from Drowning: A Novel Paperback – Sep 26 2006


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Saving Fish from Drowning: A Novel + The Hundred Secret Senses: A Novel + The Bonesetter's Daughter
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (Sept. 26 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034546401X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345464019
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.7 out of 5 stars
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 15 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a "typical" Amy Tan novel about a Chinese mother and daughter, please be aware that this book doesn't follow Ms. Tan's marvelous prior novels into that rich story-telling vein. If you like satirical novels, you will wonder why Ms. Tan takes so long to lay waste to her targets.

But if you like novels rich in cultural and psychological irony, you've found a gem. I emphasize that point because irony is something that many readers avoid or don't enjoy very much. I find that there are too few well-written ironic novels, and I treasure all those that I find.

Like most stories about ironies, this one takes on such a broad theme that it can be easy to miss the message: Unintended consequences cause your purest impulses to backfire on you and on those you want to help. Ms. Tan's choice of a title gives a broad clue, in referring to an anonymous tale about a pious man who "saves" the lives of fish from drowning by catching them. When the fish die, he's disappointed but realizing that one must never waste anything, he sells the dead fishes to buy more nets . . . so he can save more fish from drowning.

Like a good symphony composer, Ms. Tan then endows her major characters with story lines that let them each play out that theme in their own variations. To make sure we get the point, each personal story is imbued with ironies that are both richly developed and humorous.

To be sure we understand that there are other forces at work, Ms. Tan sets as her initial narrator a wealthy patron of the arts who has just died . . . but is still lingering around to observe her own funeral . . . and the actions of the tour group she had organized.
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By jocelyne Feuille on April 21 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was not what I expected. I enjoyed some of the humour and especially the cultural stories about Myanmar. At other times, I found it too descriptive and therefore it lost my interest.
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By l'anglaisemtl on June 15 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Worth the long length. Filled with imaginative scenarios, both funny and poignant. Very timely topic. Amy Tam does it again! I really recommend it!
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