The Hundred Secret Senses – Amy Tan

Titlethehundredsecretsenses: The Hundred Secret Senses

Author: Amy Tan

ISBN-10:  0143119087

ISBN-13: 978-0143119081

Paperback: 368 pages

The Plot:

Olivia Yee is only five years old when Kwan, her seventeen-year-old-half-sister from China, comes to live with the family and turns her world upside down. She is bombarded day and night with Kwan’s stories from the world of Yin – romantic tales of ghosts who were once bandit maidens, strange accounts of missionaries and mercenaries from another world. Olivia just wants to lead a normal American life.

For the next thirty years, Olivia unhappily endures visits from Kwan and her ghosts, who appear in the living world to offer advice on everything from restaurants to Olivia’s failed marriage. But just when Olivia cannot bear it anymore, the revelations of a tragic, hundred-year-old family secret gives her the opportunity to reconcile these ghosts from the past with the dreams of her future…

With a sharp eye for the tragi-comedy of those whose lives are caught between two cultures, Amy Tan weaves an extraordinary and inspiring tale. In prose which blends the deceptive simplicities of fairy tales with vivid characterisation and a sly, poignant humour, she proves once again that she has no rivals – Amy Tan is the quintessential storyteller.


Another amazing book by Amy Tan. A beautify story narrated equally well with a mix of humour and emotion, it was an amazing read. Parts of it made me chuckle while parts were heartbreaking. I loved the characters, especially Kwan and her stories of distant lands and times.

As with her previous novels that I have read, ‘The Valley of Amazement’ and ‘Saving Fish From Drowning’, what I loved about this book was the way the story of the characters comes full circle, making the end all the more satisfying. A highly recommended read!


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Saving Fish From Drowning – Amy Tan

Saving FishTitle : Saving Fish From Drowning

Author : Amy Tan

ISBN-10 : 034546401X  

ISBN-13 : 978-0345464019

Paperback : 528 pages

The Plot :

Twelve American tourists join an art expedition that begins in the Himalayan foothills of China – dubbed the true Shangri-La – and heads south into the jungles of Burma. But after the mysterious death of their tour leader, the carefully laid plans fall apart, and disharmony breaks out among the pleasure-seekers. And then, on Christmas morning, eleven of the travellers boat across a misty lake for a sunrise cruise – and disappear.

Drawing from the current political reality in Burma and woven with pure confabulation, Amy Tan’s picaresque novel poses the question : How can we discern what is real and what is fiction, in everything we see? How do we know what to believe?

Review :

This is the second book by Amy Tan that I have read and so far I have loved her style. It is a marvellous story narrated posthumously via the all-knowing tour leader of the group. The characters are rich and diverse and the locales are exotic. You come to connect with each of the characters as if you have known them all your life. You care for each and every one of them. The best part about the book that I liked was the way it ended. Amy Tan has covered all bases leaving out nothing. The final chapter of the book talks about where each of the characters is now and gives you a feeling of closure.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the 500 plus pages. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking forward to a gripping story and memorable characters.

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The Valley of Amazement – Amy Tan

The Valley of AmazementTitle : The Valley of Amazement

Author : Amy Tan

ISBN-10 :  0062107321

ISBN-13 : 978-0062107329

Paperback : 608 pages

The Plot :

Violet Minturn grows up in Shanghai’s most exclusive courtesan house, the striking and wilful daughter of its American mistress. In 1912, when the Emperor is deposed and celebrations rock the city, a cruel act of deception separates Violet from her mother.

Forced to become a virgin courtesan, Violet determines to master the arts that will make her one of the most desired women in Shanghai. In this new way of life, romance is an illusion and seduction nothing more than a transaction; but she can never relinquish her hope of finding truth in love.

Violet’s need to understand her past fires her quest to uncover the truth about her mother and the men – father figures and lovers – who have shaped her journey. Spanning fifty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement is a deeply evocative narrative of a fateful family history. With her characteristic wisdom, grace and humour, Amy Tan conjures a story of the inheritance of love, its mysteries and betrayals, its power and truth.

Review :

To me a good book is one that keeps you so engrossed in the story that when you are reading it you are blissfully unaware of things around you. Personally I could have read The Valley of Amazement in the middle of a parade route and not looked up from the book for a second. The one word I can think of to describe the story has to be ‘mesmerising’.

The characters are so likable that you are so invested in their lives from the very first chapter. The 600 plus pages is like living a lifetime with Violet and I enjoyed every minute of it. Amy Tan has a beautiful way of looking at even the most mundane things and making them sound exotic and her lyrical style is very engaging. If you liked Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden you will love this book. In my opinion this is a definite must read.

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