MLA Platinum Award Press Release

BookBrowse Reviews Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Saving Fish From Drowning

by Amy Tan

Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan X
Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2005, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2006, 512 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A provocative new novel from the bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter's Daughter

From the book jacket: 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 themselves 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.
 
Filled with Amy Tan's signature "idiosyncratic, sympathetic characters, haunting images, historical complexity, significant contemporary themes, and suspenseful mystery" (Los Angeles Times), Saving Fish from Drowning seduces the reader with a façade 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.
 
Comment: Drawing comparisons to A Midsummer's Night Dream and The Canterbury Tales, reviewer opinion of Saving Fish From Drowning is mixed.  Publishers Weekly ('highly entertaining') and Booklist ('vitally realistic') gave it starred reviews, and Library Journal recommended it 'for all libraries'. However, the reviewers for The Washington Post and Kirkus were less enamored. 

Craig Nova, writing in The Washington Post, couldn't find one good thing to say about it.  However, while reading through the litany of things he didn't like I did start to wonder whether, perhaps, he'd lost sight of the fact that the characters in a book are the author's creations, and don't necessarily represent the author or her point of view, and need not be likeable or sympathetic.

The reviewer for Kirkus found many things to like but concluded that the "author's research ultimately smothers her story and characters", providing too much "historical and ethnographic detail about Burma".  That is, of course, a matter of opinion - if you,  like most BookBrowse members, enjoy books that inform while they entertain, I think you will find much to appreciate in Saving Fish From Drowning.

As always, you can judge for yourself by reading a very extensive excerpt at BookBrowse.

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in November 2005, and has been updated for the October 2006 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: How to Build a Heart
    How to Build a Heart
    by Maria Padian
    Maria Padian is well-known for her motif of exploring teen reactions to social issues. Her novel ...
  • Book Jacket: Follow Me to Ground
    Follow Me to Ground
    by Sue Rainsford
    Ada and her father are human-like beings who age slowly and possess the power to heal all illness. ...
  • Book Jacket: Children of the Land
    Children of the Land
    by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
    In this exquisitely crafted memoir, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo describes coming of age as a young ...
  • Book Jacket: A Good Neighborhood
    A Good Neighborhood
    by Therese Anne Fowler
    After fictionalized biographies of Zelda Fitzgerald (Z, 2013) and Alva Vanderbilt (A Well-Behaved ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Sun Down Motel
    by Simone St. James

    The chilling new novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    American Dirt
    by Jeanine Cummins

    A new American classic, and the first book to ever score a perfect 5-stars in BookBrowse's early reader program!
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
American Dirt
by Jeanine Cummins

"American Dirt is a Grapes of Wrath for our times."
—Don Winslow

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Lost Family

The Lost Family
by Libby Copeland

A deeply reported look at the rise of home genetic testing and the seismic shock it has had on individual lives.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A F I Need I A F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.