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Bone

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  1,306 ratings  ·  105 reviews
A profoundly moving journey into San Francisco's Chinatown that is "brutal and poignant, dreamy and gritty, specific to its place and resonant in its implication about what it means to be an American."-- "Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer"
Paperback, 193 pages
Published December 3rd 1993 by Harpperen (first published January 1st 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,071)
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Eli
Feb 26, 2008 Eli rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hayley
Fae Myenne Ng’s ‘Bone’ explores two generations of a family. There is Mah, the matriarch, simultaneously tied to Salmon Alley (their pocket of San Francisco’s Chinatown) and to her Chinese origins. The patriarch is Leon, who cannot seem to get ahead in the American capitalistic system. Leon takes odd jobs on ships, consistently changing his geographic location. Ona, moving from her mother’s home, appears to have lost all sense of identity before eventually dying by suicide. Resentful Nina escape...more
Zoe
This story is narrated backwards. Why? I don't know. Seemed kind of gimmicky to me. Leila, the (intentionally?) bland narrator, is a dutiful Chinese daughter to her immigrant mother and stepfather. The novel shows her negotiating between her American upbringing and the expectations of her old-world Chinese parents. When tragedy strikes (view spoiler), Leila feels responsible for holding everything together. Thankfully, she has her super-annoyin...more
Catherine
I was remembering how much I enjoyed the Joy Luck Club and when this book was described as a similarly inter-generational story rich in cultural idiosyncrasies and very thoughtful, that resonated with me. I really enjoyed it; the sense of place and presence was very strong, and the storytelling was wonderful.
강남건마
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야행성 선릉오피 anma2014.com 오피 가격이 어떻게 되는지 궁금하시죠? 프로필을 보면 제각각입니다. 그리고 언니들 사이즈마다 외모의 퀄리티에 따라


다 가격이 틀린데요 좀더 구체적인 정보를 원하신다면 밤행성로 접속해보세요.


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...more
Aishe
Feb 28, 2008 Aishe rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who is interested in Asian America
Recommended to Aishe by: Jinzhao Li
Ng's first novel really captures the lives of an intergenerational Chinese American family. Her writing reframes the American dream, complicates it, and reflects more reality than the usual depictions.
Helen
Bone is the first novel by Fae Myenne Ng. It follows the lives of three sisters, as narrated by the oldest, Leila. She and her sisters, Ona and Nina, live in San Francisco with their parents, Mah and Leon. The story is really about how the family is torn apart, and somewhat put back together, by the suicide of Ona.

These are very well constructed characters, it's a short novel, but by the end you grow to care for each and every one of them. But the story itself is fractured, not following a stri...more
Stacy Saunders
Everyone in Chinatown knows the Leong family’s secrets: Mah’s failed first marriage, her affair with her boss and youngest daughter Ona’s suicide. But guilt remains the family’s true secret, the bone whose marrow they all continue to suck after their lives have been picked over by neighborhood gossipmongers. Leila, eldest of the three daughters, tells her family’s story in hope that the guilt does not turn sweet, like the seed of a dried plum, a thing savored. Leila acts as archeologist, piecing...more
Laura J. W.
We were a family of three girls. By Chinese standards, that wasn’t lucky. In Chinatown, everyone knew our story. Outsiders jerked their chins, looked at us, shook their heads. We heard things. (p. 1)

Ona, the middle daughter, jumped off the Nam. Leila, her older sister, journeys backwards in her memory about what happened in Salmon Alley, trying to grasp the why — how come? The story is told in a manner that is like a non-linear slide through time, reading the past through Lei’s recollections — o...more
Paige [eastIndies.]
This novel is very moving, and very impressive for a debut author. The story line takes place in Chinatown in San Fransisco, where Leila, her mother, and her father figure Leon, struggle to come to terms with Leila's sister Ona's suicide. The weaving of different events from the past and the present complete this tale, although it can sometimes be confusing. Nevertheless, the end comes together beautifully and the theme is very apparent. What I think I loved most about this book was the way the...more
Athena Kennedy
Leila, the first of three daughters born to a Chinese-American family in San Francisco's Chinatown, narrates the story of her family's grief. Leila tells her story backwards, and each successive chapter touches on an event that occurred before the former. The effect is a slow unraveling - events that are distant memories in the beginning are told in detail in the middle, and have not yet occurred in the innocent time of the end chapters.

Central to Leila's story is her middle sister Ona's suicide...more
Ben
I have mixed feelings on this book. It was the second book chosen by my book group (the first was Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake"), and I probably wouldn't have picked it up on my own. Ng's writing style is incredibly short and choppy. We're talking five-word sentences: she even hacks what would be grammatically correct sentences into fragments disctractingly separated by periods. For that reason, I found it really hard to get started. I learned to read through it better as I went along, and did...more
Alisa
It's not bad, exactly, but I didn't enjoy it very much. The narrator is a Chinese-American woman living in Chinatown stuck between the old and the new way of life, literally represented by her mother's apartment (where her stepfather doesn't live most of the time, though they are still married) and her boyfriend/fiancé/husband's apartment outside Chinatown. It's told backwards, so we begin in the present & move back just a few years with each chapter; catastrophic family events are hinted at...more
Alison
I enjoyed this book for the most part. It is a bout a Chinese-American family and how each members deals with the grief and guilt they have over the narrator's sister's suicide. The story is told backwards in time, with each new chapter skipping backward a few years in time, which worked for me. I really loved the characters and felt I got to know each one of them just a bit. I also really enjoyed the descriptions of Chinatown and I thought being let in to the world of being a Chinese immigrant...more
Michelle
If you read the Asian section of Ronald Takaki's A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, this would be the perfect book to read. Understanding the history of an Asian's life in the United States during the early 1800s to the late 1900s, you would see why this book's family is portrayed the way it was. This historical fiction book is in a confusing order but it is mainly about the family dealing with the death of Ona, who jumped off the thirteenth floor while on drugs. The sorrows...more
Sanghee
My second book in a row about San Francisco, but this time the setting is far more specific, namely Salmon Alley, in San Francisco's chinatown. At first, I didn't know what to think of this novel. It is very clearly written, and a fast read, but every other line was oppressed by "Ona" the middle sister who commits suicide. The timeline of the novel jumps back and forth not only in time, but also between San Francisco, New York, and Hong Kong. What is great about this novel is that it is jam pack...more
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The tone and delivery are a little so-so at the beginning but the writing finds it's pace after a while. Or maybe I acclimated to the style. A few chapters in the middle were repetitious and dragged. Overall it was enjoyable.

There is a fascination with naming brands of cars that doesn't fit that well with the rest of the material and style.
Sylvia Tedesco
We read this as a book group selection this September ('09). Our group had mixed feelings but I thought it well worth reading. The story is so personal and immediate. It seems as if it is a memoire. The action takes place in San Francisco, the family is stuck between first and immigrant generations. I felt the honesty and confusion of these people and the author. The problems of making a living, keeping ties to the family are strongly portrayed. The author has some lovely language, but mostly it...more
Emily
Not life altering, but some nice writing, short and sweet, and an interesting cultural perspective from within my own city. There were two annoying parts: 1) while she undoubtedly knows SF very well, it's almost like the info she includes is unnecessarily formalized. Like, who refers to bus lines as "the number 15 Kearny" and "the number 14 Mission"? Who says "I turned onto Stockton Street" instead of "I turned onto Stockton?" Besides that, I thought that the mixed up chronology was a little con...more
Jesse Zellmer
I haven't always been ludicrously impressed with books I read for college, but this one hit better notes than most. I have family issues, the character has family issues. It's nowhere near perfect or poignant. Mason is an irritating white knight character and Ona's death was nowhere near fleshed out enough. It's alright, it's subtle, and has a dash of interest. The end result is nothing more than a well rounded novel, but nothing more.
Jordan Cummings
This book had many good elements to it. Although I didn’t enjoy the structure of the book, I still thought it was a decent enough read. There are often flashbacks and the sequence of events is out of order, so that made it a little hard to read. But the actual story-line was pretty good. It was about a Chinese family, living in San Francisco, who is trying to get over the suicidal death of one of the children, Ona. Each member of the family has a different reaction to the death of Ona, and it wa...more
Shannon
Apr 05, 2011 Shannon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone that loves anything Chinese
I started this book last night. If I didn't love anything related to China and the Chinese...I'm not sure I could keep reading this. It starts out very slow. Not much action, so far...
The story line picks up. Not too much action. Chinese stories don't tend to have too much going on. But I love them the same!
Chinese write and read right to left and back to front. So when I figured out this book tells the story backwards, I thought it was charming.
Reading about all the foods they were eating real...more
Geoffrey
A powerful exploration of family and the complexities of love, death, and filial duty, Ms. Ng's prose achieves an almost poetic quality through her economy of expression.
Jamie
I read this book for an Asian-Am lit course and immediately didn't like it because it seemed trite and I didn't understand exactly what Ng's message was. I have re-read it over the years because I definitely believe in giving books another go (especially books that you HAD to read for a class) and I learned to see it in a different light. It looked at the relationships between each family member (sister-sister, father-daughter, etc) and how those relationships can affect the entire family unit....more
Angela
A searing novel about grief, family, and the profound effect our choices make on those who love us told through an odd, though effective, backward spiral in time.

The backward storyline impressed me the most, as I had not read a book told from the end to the beginning. At first, I was startled, but as I continued to read, the more profound and deeply moving the narrative became. Imagine starting out cynical and world-weary and going backward to a time of unconditional love and innocence.

A must-r...more
Bach
Bone touches on the life of a first generation Chinese American woman who has a great many issues in her personal American life away from home and distinctly Chinese life around the family. It's not necessarily a bad read by any means, but not consistently engaging, and often distant. The main character is hardly relatable, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but makes for a difficult read to really grasp onto from beginning to end. The book picks up speed, however, when it branches momentaril...more
Nancy Nguyen
Fae Ng was my creative writing teacher at UCLA, and will probably be my creative writing teacher later. She was an awesome, awesome teacher, and I was thrilled when she said that she wrote two books. The first took her 15 years to write (or was it 10?). She was such an inspiration. This was definitely a very unique book, told not in chronological order. It made me realize that Chinese immigrant culture is way, way different from Vietnamese immigrant culture, which is exciting (makes me feel like...more
Sylvie
I wanted to like this one more than I did. The narrative flows backwards in time, chapter by chapter, but it took me a few chapters to figure out the whole book would be that way. A nod to Chinese writing maybe? In any case, the numbers go forward so I assume I read the chapters in the right order. It seems a little contrived.

I don't know if I missed something, but I arrived at the end and was left unsatisfied. Throughout, you feel like you are driving to some sort of reveal, but it never happen...more
Debra Kang
"I considered the odd course of our affinity: how often the sewing ladies were a gossiping pain and equally how often they were a comfort. Bringing the right foods was as delicate as saying the right words. The sewing ladies knew, in ways I was still watching and learning from, how to draw out Mah's sadness and then take it away."

To give oneself over to the narrator of this beautifully told story is to discover with her in the telling of it "the odd course of our affinity" with immigrants in pur...more
Christa
- Required reading for California Ethnic literature, Spring 2010

Out of all the novels I was required to read, I was the most emotionally attached to Bone. This sotry follows the life of Leila, the narrator and eldest of three sisters living in a Chinese-American fmaily in Chinatown, San Francisco. The middle sister Ona commits suicide, and this tragic event is traced throughout the story is a disjointed manner.

This particular sequence that had the most effect on me involved a play-by-play of Le...more
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500 Great Books B...: Bone - Fae Myenne Ng 1 4 Jul 15, 2014 12:48PM  
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Fae Myenne Ng (born December 2, 1956 in San Francisco) is an American novelist, and short story writer.

She is a first-generation Chinese American author whose debut novel Bone told the story of three Chinese American daughters growing up in her real childhood hometown of San Francisco Chinatown. Her work has received support from the American Academy of Arts & Letters' Rome Prize, the Lila Wal...more
More about Fae Myenne Ng...
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