Friday, March 28, 2008

Amy Tan: Saving Fish from Drowning

I couldn't resist picking this paperback up at the library (together with Evanovich that last time), since I figured what with the new job requiring commuting I'd have all this reading time. However, despite this undoubtedly being true, I haven't read much. I've got a colleague who takes the bus with me most days so we talk, or I forget the book, or I'm so tired... excuses aplenty. Also, this book is a bit of a slow read, like wading through treacle. It hasn't grabbed me, I'm nearing the end, and I've started skimming to be rid of it.

I think part of the trouble is that the storyline differs a little from the Typical Tan (says the woman who's read all of two novels). Bibi Chen is murdered shortly before she was about to lead a group of her friends on a Buddhist art trip through China and into Burma. The friends go anyway, and Bibi's ghost follows and narrates the story for us. They end up being amicably kidnapped and disappear.

It seems like she was driven to write it so as to take a stance against the Burmese junta (emotionally understandable and absolutely commendable!). However, somehow the heart isn't there. By heart I don't mean the outrage against the atrocities - that's there - but the sincerity that comes of writing what you know. There is a farcical tone which I'm supposed to enjoy according to one of the cover blurbs, but I don't. It just confuses me.

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