Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Saving Fish From Drowning
The report was a terrible thing to read: “The body of Bibi Chen, 63, retail maven, socialite, and board member of the Asian Art Museum, was found yesterday in the display window of her Union Square store, The Immortals, famed for its chinoiserie ….” - p 2.
A terrible end to Bibi Chen and the strange beginning to Saving Fish From Drowning, a novel by Amy Tan.
Bibi Chen, a San Francisco art patron, had planned the journey of a lifetime for herself and eleven of her friends. Death was not going to deprive her of this adventure. Her incorporeal spirit accompanies her friends on a prearranged tour through China and Burma. If only her friends had followed her original itinerary, they would not have gone missing.
The story is narrated by Bibi Chen. This is an interesting start to the novel; however, it soon becomes tedious as the character seems to drone on and on about everything. The remaining characters were very real, each having several flaws; however, they were overdeveloped to the point that one did not really care about them. Bibi's spirit interacting with the real world was not an aspect that I enjoyed. The mystical fantasy was too much for me and the story lost its' charm; however, the novel was pure Amy Tan, delving into the pot of human nature, discovering our basic insecurities and strengths, and examining our relationships with one another.
This would not be my favorite Amy Tan novel. I prefer The Joy Luck Club; however, I would recommend to those who have read Ms. Tan's other novels to judge for themselves.