Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan

Years ago I was a huge Amy Tan fan (that's fun to say!), but it's been a while since I've read anything from her. In my efforts to work through my TBR stacks, I picked up Saving Fish from Drowning. I bought this book from a library book sale so long ago that I can't even remember how long I've had it. It features a tour group of twelve people visiting China and Burma. Unfortunately, the person they all have in common, their tour leader Bibi dies just before the commencement of the trip and a substitute guide must fill in. While on this vacation, eleven of the tourists become lost in the Burmese jungle.

Interestingly for the reader, the story is told from the point of view of Bibi's ghost. This allows the reader to not only view the action as it takes place, but also to understand many of the motives as well as much of the history behind the scenes. Bibi watches as the new tour leader misunderstands the reasons behind the original itinerary and she understands the reasons behind all that befalls her friends. On the one hand, this allows the reader to understand so much more than what the characters understand. On the other hand, the reader gets an awful lot of information. This book was interesting, but it seemed a little heavy to me, as though I weren't making much progress. It held my interest and I wanted to read it, but I also often wanted the author to get on with it a bit. I feel terrible saying such a thing about Amy Tan, but this was not my favorite book of hers.

The one thing that can always be said of Amy Tan's books is that they bring a vivid visual of Asia and its many different cultures to the reader. There is nothing like reading one of her novels to make me want to book a flight on Cathay Pacific.

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