Saving Fish from Drowning

Amy Tan, Author . Putnam $26.95 (474p) ISBN 978-0-399-15301-3

Tan (The Bonesetter's Daughter ) delivers another highly entertaining novel, this one narrated from beyond the grave. San Francisco socialite and art-world doyenne Bibi Chen has planned the vacation of a lifetime along the notorious Burma Road for 12 of her dearest friends. Violently murdered days before takeoff, she's reduced to watching her friends bumble through their travels from the remove of the spirit world. Making the best of it, the 11 friends who aren't hung over depart their Myanmar resort on Christmas morning to boat across a misty lake—and vanish. The tourists find themselves trapped in jungle-covered mountains, held by a refugee tribe that believes Rupert, the group's surly teenager, is the reincarnation of their god Younger White Brother, come to save them from the unstable, militaristic Myanmar government. Tan's travelers, who range from a neurotic hypochondriac to the debonair, self-involved host of a show called The Fido Files , fight and flirt among themselves. While ensemble casting precludes the intimacy that characterizes Tan's mother-daughter stories, the book branches out with a broad plot and dynamic digressions. It's based on a true story, and Tan seems to be having fun with it, indulging in the wry, witty voice of Bibi while still exploring her signature questions of fate, connection, identity and family. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/29/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 736 pages - 978-1-4056-1301-9
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Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 496 pages - 978-1-4406-0700-4
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Paperback - 496 pages
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