Saving Fish From Drowning

Book Review: Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan

Many thanks to Stephanie Barrows, one of two book winners last year who agreed to review the books they won. Today’s review is on “Saving Fish From Drowning” by Amy Tan.

Saving Fish from Drowning

Saving Fish From Drowning was my first novel by Amy Tan. Admittedly, most of my literary brushes with Chinese-American culture have come through either movies (coming of age stories and martial arts fantasies) or historical novels (Snowflower and the Secret Fan). 

This novel was an unexpected pleasure because it hosted two aspects I adore about Asian culture: the supernatural in everyday life and the immigration experience. An egocentric art-dealer-turned-murder-victim-then-ghost tells the story of a group of travelers who head to China and disappear. 

Throughout the narrative, our guide shows us aspects of her personal story with characteristic eccentricity. When a newspaper reports her murder, she complains about the article and pictures used to display her body. Afterwards, our protagonist’s description of her own funeral and its attendees offered a humorous look into the art world and the personalities that inhabit it. 

Saving Fish From Drowning also fed this writer’s appetite for psychological insights through internal dialogue and flashbacks. Ms. Tan’s use of graphic detail in describing the protagonist’s murder, for example, is done with a coroner’s eye and a feminine touch.

In the future, I highly recommend Ms. Tan keep writing novels of this nature. Not only are they entertaining, but their aftertaste of the supernatural mixed with the everyday are enough to bring even a finicky reader back to the literary table.

Book Give Away Quiz

Okay, as promised, we’re going to play a game and do two give aways. The first person to answer either question correctly gets their choice of two books.

Question #1.Who can tell me which book of Amy Tan’s features two sisters and a tale of rebellion, previous lives and self sacrifice during both modern day and the Taiping Rebellion?

Question #2. What Lisa See novel involves dark fantasies, opera and women of seventeenth century China?

I’ve got two books to offer as a prize:
“Born Confused” by Tanuja Desai Hidier or

“Saving Fish From Drowning” by Amy Tan.

Hidier’s novel is a paperback edition and Tan’s is in hardback, for those of you who care about such things. ;D

I have a confession to make: I haven’t read either novel yet. So whichever book is chosen, I’d love to hear the winner’s opinion on the book, or (dare I hope?) a book review with the winner as a guest blogger.