Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan

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Synopsis

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 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.

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."
 

About Amy Tan

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Amy Tan is the author of The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter, The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life, Saving Fish from Drowning, and two children's books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa, which has now been adapted as a PBS production. Tan was also a co-producer and co-screenwriter of the film version of The Joy Luck Club. Her essays and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Her work has been translated into thirty-five languages. She lives with her husband in San Francisco and New York.
 
Published October 18, 2005 by G.P. Putnam's Sons. 508 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Saving Fish from Drowning

The New York Times

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Narrated by a grouchy ghost, Amy Tan's novel is a comedy of errors about clueless travelers misinterpreting the cultures around them.

Oct 16 2005 | Read Full Review of Saving Fish from Drowning

The New York Times

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Narrated by a grouchy ghost, Amy Tan's novel is a comedy of errors about clueless travelers misinterpreting the cultures around them.

Oct 16 2005 | Read Full Review of Saving Fish from Drowning

The Guardian

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The narrative intensifies when 11 of them are kidnapped at Lake Inlay in Burma's Shan State - they are held in jungle-covered mountains by a group of desperate Karen refugee tribesmen, who believe that one of the tourists is the reincarnation of their god Younger White Brother, come to free them ...

Dec 09 2005 | Read Full Review of Saving Fish from Drowning

The Guardian

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No Name Place becomes metaphorical for those dark, forbidden emotional places we fear going, for some things do not bear thinking - or speaking - about.

Dec 10 2005 | Read Full Review of Saving Fish from Drowning

NPR

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In her new novel, Amy Tan sets a group of tourists off to Burma accompanied, in spirit, by a friend and guide named Bibi Chen — who mysteriously dies before the start of the trip. While Chen mirrors other characters of Tan's previous novels, Saving Fish From Drowning marks a departure from Tan's ...

Nov 20 2005 | Read Full Review of Saving Fish from Drowning

AV Club

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Amy Tan's Saving Fish From Drowning begins with a detailed story explaining how its manuscript—supposedly the psychic dictation of dead San Francisco art collector Bibi Chen—first came to light.

Nov 02 2005 | Read Full Review of Saving Fish from Drowning

Entertainment Weekly

Saving Fish From Drowning (2005) A San Francisco antiques dealer dies under suspicious circumstances days before she is scheduled to lead a group of rich American tourists through Southeast Asia.… 2005-10-18 Amy Tan ...

Oct 19 2005 | Read Full Review of Saving Fish from Drowning

USA Today

When they object to the sight of dying fish in a marketplace, one of their guides says fishermen approach fishing with reverence.

Oct 27 2005 | Read Full Review of Saving Fish from Drowning

Reader Rating for Saving Fish from Drowning
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