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The Hundred Secret Senses

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  34,526 Ratings  ·  1,401 Reviews
Set in San Francisco and in a remote village of southern China, this is a tale of American pragmatism shaken, and soothed, by Chinese ghosts. What proof of love do we seek between mother and daughter, among sisters, lovers, and friends? What are its boundaries and failings? Can love go beyond 'Until death do us part?' And if so, which aspects haunt us like regretful ghosts ...more
Hardcover, 1st, 358 pages
Published 1995 by Putnam
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Karen Douglass Definitely not chick-lit, unless you think that revolution in China, reincarnation, family structure and precarious marriages are chick-lit. I doubt…moreDefinitely not chick-lit, unless you think that revolution in China, reincarnation, family structure and precarious marriages are chick-lit. I doubt that Amy Tan would ever write to formula or mere commercial considerations. (less)

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Nov 08, 2008 April rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hundred Secret Senses is now one of my favorite Amy Tan novels, rivaled only by The Bonesetter's Daughter. Yes, I love The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife and Saving Fish From Drowning - I love any Tan story I come across - but The Hundred Secret Senses (along with TBD) really stand out.

Olivia, the narrator, is the American-born daughter of a Chinese man and an American woman. When her father is on his deathbed, he reveals to his wife that he left behind a daughter in China, and asks
Xavier Guillaume
Mar 26, 2011 Xavier Guillaume rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Amy Tan, Those interested in Chinese ghost stories
Shelves: audio-book
Let me start off by saying that I LOVE Kwan! Her voice and self-assurance makes her cool, "Oh Libby-ah! I tell you secret. Promise not tell?" And then later in the book she becomes even cooler! A fifty year old lady crawling through caves. I can picture her saying, "We hakka strong! Don't worry me Libby-ah. I be right back!" :) I think a movie would be great! It has suspense, mystery, romance, death, ghosts! Not to mention the amazing visuals detailed in the story.

My only criticism is that Olivi
Jun 12, 2015 Silvanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have given this five stars but for a few things that annoyed me. Simon's sterility didn't ring true and Kwan's constant good humor was a bit grating.
Otherwise very, very entertaining!
Pablo Picasso also had his periods: African, Blue, Cubism, Modern, Rose and Analytic cubism.
And so have I. Have periods: Russian, Jewish, American, Middle-East, African, you name it.

One of my favorites is Amy Tan. Amy Tan-Period. This one is lasting a few years now and most of her books have a central theme: mothers and daughters. Amy Tan did not have a good relationship with her mother, or grandmother, for that matter. It could have been different if she had children of her own to really unders
Apr 08, 2008 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes good, deep characters and interesting stories.
It's become a tradition for me to read Amy Tan's books when flying. My recent trip to Las Vegas was no exception, since at the last minute, I pulled down Amy Tan's The Hundred Secret Senses - the Kindle version - and dived into it as soon as I could turn my electronic devices back on.

The book starts, "My sister Kwan believes she has yin eyes. She sees those who have died and now dwell in the World of Yin, ghosts who leave the mists just to visit her kitchen on Balboa Street in San Francisco."

Apr 02, 2015 Rebbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2015
I read The Joy Luck Club years ago (after watching the movie), and now I’m kicking myself that I’ve let years and years pass before picking up her other novels. I could’ve been treasuring these books all along, but maybe this is a blessing in disguise, because Amy Tan’s novels require a certain type of womanly maturity to fully appreciate her stories that can only come with age and experience. In fact, I think I should re-read TJLC because there are probably lots of subtle things that went right ...more
Anna Engel
It's the same basic Amy Tan plot. The details have changed, but the essence of the story is exactly the same as every other Tan book I've read. In this case, though, not only does the narrator have mommy issues, she also has older-sister-from-China issues.

Basically, I got bored. I've read most of Tan's novels and have realized that she has a template. She found a formula that worked in The Joy Luck Club and hasn't really changed it since then.

1. Female main character.
2. She's caught between two
Spider the Doof Warrior
So I like this book. What I like about it is how sweet Kwan is, but in just about All the Books there is a straight as in serious character who refuses to believe in ghosty things.

Which is a bit irritating when you have proof such things exist.

Best thing about this book is the concept that these people cared for each other so much they kept being born again just to be with these folks. it's a nice way to look at death, really. Friendly. You loved this guy in this life so he's going to be reborn
Oct 11, 2008 ☮Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cindy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yun Zhen
Dec 26, 2010 Yun Zhen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian-stories
Lovely story :) Not as mindblowing as The Bonesetter's Daughter, but good enough for me to stay up into the wee hours just to finish devouring this book.

The story started out slow and took longer than I liked to reach the climax and there are still a few unanswered questions that I would have preferred answered, like what was Olivia's father's real name. But I guess in the big scheme of things, these little questions are inconsequential and would have distracted from the main plot.

What won me
Karen Germain
I'm a huge fan of Amy Tan and I have read all, but her most recent novel. Tan's third novel, The Hundred Secret Senses, follows two sisters as they try to overcome culture gaps to form a bond.

The narrator is Olivia, a photographer who sets up the story through flashbacks to her childhood. On Olivia's father's death bed, he tells his family that he has fathered a child who is living in a remote village in China and he wishes for his daughter to be brought to America. When Olivia is six, her adul
Sana Krasikov
Feb 17, 2017 Sana Krasikov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In high school I had a friend with exquisite indie musical taste who was a closeted Cheryl Crow fan. Another friend confronted him and he had to come clean. Amy Tan is kind of my Cheryl Crow. Her accessibility might blind some highbrow readers to the great wit and wisdom in her writing. And I love how she moves narratively between the physical and spiritual worlds as if the line between the two is irrelevant.
Aug 11, 2011 Robyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Having been a little disappointed by my only other foray into Amy Tan territory - an audiobook of The Bonesetter's Daughter, listened to whilst living in China - I began reading The Hundred Secret Senses with some trepidation, but ultimately an open mind. My boss had lent me her unread copy of the book, asking me to give her my opinion, and I hoped that I would thoroughly enjoy it and hand it back with my blessings and encouragement to get stuck in as soon as possible. I intended to finish The H ...more
Hildred Billings
Jun 02, 2012 Hildred Billings rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I'm reading all of Amy Tan's works again, I realized, upon reading all their summaries, that "The Hundred Secret Senses" was the only book I couldn't remember anything about. (I read all the books around the same time before, so it wasn't like a loooon time ago.) Probably because Senses is not about Amy's classic mother/daughter dynamic, but a sister/sister relationship.

The story is about a 40ish woman named Olivia, who has put up with her elder half-sister Kwan's nosiness and...her incredib
Claire - The Coffeeholic Bookworm
Her father dropped the bomb before he died. He admitted that he had another daughter from China and requested to bring her to America. Olivia was dumbfounded when she met learned that her half sister, Kwan, was kind of weird. Kwan was older than her but Olivia felt like she was going to be the bigger sister in the family. Sharing a room with her proved to be quite an ordeal. How would you feel when your sister told you that she'd been seeing ghosts and had the ability to talk with the spirits. S ...more
Jan 04, 2011 Javier rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 26, 2011 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
What an odd book. This is one of those I never would have picked up had it not been for my book club, and another one of those reasons I'm glad I'm in a book club, and that I use it to help me read outside of my comfort zone. I'm still not entirely sure what this book was about, nor what I'm supposed to believe about it, but it was very human and intense. There was something, underneath all the talk of ghosts and past lives, very believable about this something you know is there eve ...more
This book is a huge favorite of mine. I've read it a couple of times and I don't re-read books very often! I just loved Kwan. Amy Tan's dialogue for her is so rich and real, I could hear Kwan's voice in my head!

The whole past-life/reincarnation storyline was fascinating. When I started to put it all together it was a HOLY SHIT moment - then I couldn't put the book down. Just as good, in a different way, as Joy Luck Club.

I would LOVE this to be a movie, but Amy Tan's book-to-movie record has been
Aug 02, 2016 Faizan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beauty.
It made me think of On the Jellicoe Road, ..
What a great work to create a character like Kwan. Oh, Amy Tan, why you did that you did in the end.
I was looking for a happy ending, although it was not sad, but kind of not necessary. That made me sad. After reading nearly 300 nice pages, it was a surprise that something like this will happen.

But overall, I liked the book. Best part is the way Kwan talks. Libby ah.
She is so cool. Loving her sister even before the birth. Loyal friend.
Barb Newman
Aug 19, 2013 Barb Newman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read most of Amy Tan's books over the years so when I found this one on the community market book table for a quarter, I had to look hard at it to remember if I'd read it already! I'm so glad I picked it up because I loved it!

Amy Tan does a great job of tying her heros, typically a very modern American born and raised Asian women (in this book Olivia) to in her ethic background by having wonderful characters of the mother, auntie or in this case, a long lost half sister - Kwan. Kwan adores
Natalia Pì
My first book by Amy Tan, it was a good experience. I read it rather fast, and enjoyed most of it. I say most of it, because for some reason, my reading slowed down in the second half, which is also why I gave it three stars and not four.

The story moves back in time between the late 1800s, in a Chinese village populated by the Hakka, together with some Christian missionaries, and today's San Francisco and China.

The parts about China in the past were the ones where, occasionally, my interest dwi
Sara Zovko
Neobična priča o razlikama koje čine Ameriku s jedne strane i Kinu s druge. Kina, zemlja tradicije, običaja i privrženosti obitelji i Amerika, moderna, užurbana i potpuno drugačijih pogleda na život. Ovdje se radi o dvije sestre, jedna , odrasla u Americi, druga je 18 godina svoga života provela u Kini , a zatim došla u Ameriku. I tu sve počinje, Kwan ima yin oči, ona može vidjeti mrtve , razgovarati s njima i razumjeti ih. Kwan, tvrdi da je već živjela prošle živote i priča o njima svojoj mlađo ...more
I found this pretty slow really. I wasn't emotionally inevsted in the characters enough to care about the parallel stories.

I enjoyed the section set in China for most of it, but found the resolution contrived and shallow.

The relationships felt, one dimensional. Perhaps it was intentional given the book was narrated by Olivia, but I didn't get any depth out of them. I despised the ghost of she who came before.

The reflections in the parallel stories were somewhat interesting, and the mythos stoo
Nov 07, 2007 Jenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is one of my favorite books. Even though this does not belong to a series, I found it helpful to read The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God's Wife before this one. They give you a feel for Tan's writing style and a good sense of Chinese culture. The Hundred Secret Senses introduces a much more metaphysical element. Wonderful and beautiful!
Aug 21, 2014 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually loved the book. 5 stars loved it. But I thought the ending was so clumsy! Like something you just tack onto the end. It's so frustrating! Why would you labor over a novel just to slap a happy ending over it all? Humph!
Christoph Fischer
Probably my favourite of Amy Tan's books this has a great character in Kwan, the sister of Olivia, the main character of the book.
Kwan can see ghosts with her 'yin' eyes and teaches her sister to trust her own, many senses.
Really touching.
Aug 09, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book over a long period of time, so it took awhile to get into it--but loved the last 1/3 of it. The combination of mysticism and humor are fantastic.
Ellya Khristi
Buku ini saya pinjam dari Perpustakaan Kota Malang, terjemahan tahun 2006, dan baru saya selesai baca hampir seminggu. Beda dari buku sebelumnya yang bisa habis dalam tempo 1 hari. Sebabnya? Walau dari segi ketebalan hampir sama, namun ukurannya lebih besar dan otomatis lebih banyak kata-kata. Kedua, penceritaannya butuh konsentrasi dan imajinasi karena penggambarannya secara mendetail untuk hampir setiap kalimat. Jadi tentu saja, butuh waktu lebih lama untuk membaca, dan harus dibaca berulang k ...more
Apr 21, 2017 Marta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Es el primer libro que leía de esta autora y la verdad esperaba mucho más. Creo que el choque entre la cultura asiática y americana se puede tratar de una forma mucho más inteligente que pasar por los simples estereotipos, como ridiculizar la forma en que Kwan domina el inglés o su fascinación por los objetos "fascinantes" de la teletienda estadounidense. Olivia resulta un personaje pesadísimo, a ratos odiosa por su condescendencia hacia su hermana, y en otras ocasiones una filósofa pedante sobr ...more
Olivia was born to a Chinese father and American mother and has lived all her life in San Fransisco. Her father passes away while she’s still young, but not before telling her mother he was married before and fathered a child in China. As his dying wish, he asks Olivia’s mother to find this child and bring her to America. Soon Olivia’s half-sister, Kwan, is living with the family, but she’s not what you would call normal by Chinese nor American standards. Kwan claims to have yin eyes, a conditio ...more
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Around the Year i...: The Hundred Secret Senses, by Amy Tan 2 28 Mar 26, 2016 11:57AM  
things i didn't understand 4 57 May 23, 2013 10:39AM  
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Amy Tan (Chinese: 譚恩美; pinyin: Tán Ēnměi; born February 19, 1952) is an American writer whose works explore mother-daughter relationships and what it means to grow up as a first generation Asian American. In 1993, Tan's adaptation of her most popular fiction work, The Joy Luck Club, became a commercially successful film.

She has written several other books, including The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hun
More about Amy Tan...

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“We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming - well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.” 2543 likes
“Everyone must dream. We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming - well, that's like saying you can never change your fate. Isn't that true?” 498 likes
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