While John Grisham's A Painted House easily captured the top spot on the national charts in week #2 in the stores—outselling the second-bestselling hardcover novel, Terry McMillan's A Day Late and a Dollar Short , by about five to one—the big question is: Who will be on first next week? The race is between Grisham and Amy Tan. The Bonesetter's Daughter, her first adult fiction in six years, went on sale February 19 (Tan's 49th birthday); Putnam launched the book with a first printing of about 575,000. The author has begun a tour of more than 30 cities that will keep her on the road through mid-April; over 750 people showed up at her first bookstore event, at the Barnes & Noble Union Square store in Manhattan. Tan enjoyed a 38-week run on PW 's hardcover list back in 1989 with The Joy Luck Club ; her highest slot was #4. In 1991, The Kitchen God's Wife had an 18-week run. It landed in the #2 slot, and in its second week unseated the #1 fiction bestseller—John Grisham's initial megasuccess, The Firm —and then went on to a seven-week run in the lead spot. Book #3, The Hundred Secret Senses , published in 1995, landed in the #6 position, went as high as #2 and was on the charts for 13 weeks. The reviews for Tan's latest novel, which, like Joy Luck Club , has many autobiographical elements, have been superlative. PW 's starred review noted, "The novel exhibits a poignant clarity as it investigates the dilemma of adult children who must become caretakers of their elderly parents, a situation Tan articulates with integrity and exemplary empathy for both generations." It's a situation that many boomers are grappling with—a demographic that has found much wisdom and entertainment in Tan's books.

With reporting by Dick Donahue.