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2 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Saving Fish from Drowning (Ballantine Reader's Circle)

by

Saving Fish from Drowning (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Cover

ISBN13: 9780345464019
ISBN10: 034546401x
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Reading Group Guide

1. Saving Fish from Drowning begins, “It was not my fault.” How is the concept of personal responsibility important in the novel?

2. How does Veras experience in the jungle influence her book on self-reliance?

3. In what sense do the tourists feel culpable for the suffering they see in Burma? Does Amy Tan offer a solution to their feelings of guilt?

4. Bibi is not necessarily always a reliable or likable narrator. Can we always take her observations at face value?

5. Tan prefaces Saving Fish from Drowning with “A Note to the Reader” that is mostly fictitious, and also invents the accompanying newspaper article. Why do you think she made this choice? How did it shape your impression of the story?

6. The novel takes its title from a euphemism for fishing. In what ways are names and “brands” important to the story? How are words used to conceal truth in Burma and among the travelers?

7. What are Bibis attitudes toward sex and the human body? How do her observations reflect her own psychology and background?

8. The first time in her adult life that Bibi feels “unmindful” passionate love results in her accidental death. Is her demise tragic? Comic? Ironic? Why does Tan leave us to assume for most of the novel that Bibi was murdered?

9. How does the tour groups behavior reinforce or rebut stereotypes of the “ugly American”?

10. If you are familiar with Tans other novels, what parallels can you draw between the mother-daughter relations in her previous stories and Bibis impressions of her mother and stepmother?

11. Is this an optimistic story?

12. Have you ever been in a situation in which you came to have mixed feelings about the volunteer or charitable work that you were doing? If so, how did this experience affect your beliefs about charity?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Lucy Little, December 7, 2007 (view all comments by Lucy Little)
I don't think this is Amy Tan's best work, but it is still an enjoyable read. Bibi Chen, San Francisco art expert, plans to guide a group of friends on a trip into Burma, now Myanmar. Unfortunately, she dies prior to departure. Her friends continue on the trip without her, but unbeknownst to them, her ghost accompanies them with a running commentary to the reader. The story follows their mishaps throughout the journey. Some of the characters play sterotypical "American" roles as tourists. The best part of the story is the portrayal of Burma through its residents and government. Though fictional, I think stories like this are important in their portrayal of other cultures, governments, etc.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345464019
Author:
Tan, Amy
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Americans
Subject:
Visionary & metaphysical
Subject:
Missing persons
Subject:
Suspense fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Metaphysics -- Fiction.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Ballantine Reader's Circle
Publication Date:
20060931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
528
Dimensions:
8.16x5.24x1.13 in. .83 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Metaphysics » Fiction

Saving Fish from Drowning (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 528 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345464019 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Saving Fish from Drowning is a funny, almost magical look at group dynamics, altruism, and self-interest set against the beauty and repressive politics of Myanmar. Impressive and surprisingly moving.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[Tan's] most politically astute and shrewdly satirical tale to date..."
"Review" by , "An extremely funny novel with serious undercurrents."
"Review" by , "The author's research ultimately smothers her story and characters. A pity, because this vividly imagined tale might very well have been her best yet."
"Review" by , "[A] strange and fascinating trip..."
"Review" by , "Tan's new book poses many of her familiar questions, but in unfamiliar ways."
"Review" by , "Saving Fish from Drowning is a new sort of adventure for Tan, an assured step in a thrilling new direction....[A] grand comic novel...sharp and droll..."
"Review" by , "A hilarious yet politically charged tale....[A] rollicking, adventure-filled story."
"Review" by , "This is the perfect winter book....Rich with mystery and culture, this is a novel that will put you under its spell — under Tan's spell — and entertain you through a blizzard, a post-holiday escape, or just a long night of R and R."
"Review" by , "[A]ll Tan's trademark strengths — her lush language, her memorable characters, her wide-ranging curiosity about people and history — quickly come to the fore."
"Synopsis" by , A rollicking, adventure-filled story . . . packed with the human capacity for love.

-USA Today

A superbly executed, good-hearted farce that is part romance and part mystery . . . With Tan's many talents on display, it's her idiosyncratic wit and sly observations . . . that make this book pure pleasure.

-San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco art patron Bibi Chen has planned a journey of the senses along the famed Burma Road for eleven lucky friends. But after her mysterious death, Bibi watches aghast from her ghostly perch as the travelers veer off her itinerary and embark on a trail paved with cultural gaffes and tribal curses, Buddhist illusions and romantic desires. On Christmas morning, the tourists cruise across a misty lake and disappear.

With picaresque characters and mesmerizing imagery, Saving Fish from Drowning gives us a voice as idiosyncratic, sharp, and affectionate as the mothers of The Joy Luck Club. Bibi is the observant eye of human nature-the witness of good intentions and bad outcomes, of desperate souls and those who wish to save them. In the end, Tan takes her readers to that place in their own heart where hope is found.

Amy Tan is among our great storytellers.

-The New York Times Book Review

Amy Tan has created an almost magical adventure that, page by page, becomes a metaphor for human relationships.

-Isabel Allende

With humor, ruthlessness, and wild imagination, Tan has reaped a fantastic tale of human longings and (of course) their consequences.

-Elle

A book that's easy to read and hard to forget.

-Newsweek

"Synopsis" by , “A rollicking, adventure-filled story . . . packed [with] the human capacity for love.”

-USA Today

“A superbly executed, good-hearted farce that is part romance and part mystery . . . With Tans many talents on display, its her idiosyncratic wit and sly observations . . . that make this book pure pleasure.”

-San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco art patron Bibi Chen has planned a journey of the senses along the famed Burma Road for eleven lucky friends. But after her mysterious death, Bibi watches aghast from her ghostly perch as the travelers veer off her itinerary and embark on a trail paved with cultural gaffes and tribal curses, Buddhist illusions and romantic desires. On Christmas morning, the tourists cruise across a misty lake and disappear.

With picaresque characters and mesmerizing imagery, Saving Fish from Drowning gives us a voice as idiosyncratic, sharp, and affectionate as the mothers of The Joy Luck Club. Bibi is the observant eye of human nature-the witness of good intentions and bad outcomes, of desperate souls and those who wish to save them. In the end, Tan takes her readers to that place in their own heart where hope is found.

“Amy Tan is among our great storytellers.”

-The New York Times Book Review

“Amy Tan has created an almost magical adventure that, page by page, becomes a metaphor for human relationships.”

-Isabel Allende

“With humor, ruthlessness, and wild imagination, Tan has reaped [a] fantastic tale of human longings and (of course) their consequences.”

-Elle

“A book thats easy to read and hard to forget.”

-Newsweek

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