Hsingwa's Reviews > Saving Fish from Drowning

Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan
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Jan 01, 2011

really liked it

This book was very different to Tan's usual works in tone - I didn't expect that much satire from her, which this book clearly is, not despite its serious undertones and the heart she at times seems to have for her characters, but all the more because of it.
Written earlier, this book can still be read as an antidote to books like "Eat, Pray, Love" - in the end, the travellers will have found a lot for, or found out a lot about themselves, but the people they met were mostly "Fish Saved From Drowning", and left with all the more trouble, demise, or just dissapointment. In a literary world were the natives whose hardships travelling literary heroes and heroines get to share, are all too often the living background for others' self discovery it is good to see this picked up in such a sardonic way. Like all relevant satire, this book has a deeply moral chore, and gives food for thought. I "take one star away" because the tone isn't always exactly fluid - at some times we are supposed to care for the main characters, then again they are so over the top that it doesn't work anymore, not even in a satire - the whole thing comes across as a bit undecided (do we want character development and inner monologues, or do we want extreme stereotyping? Doing both at ones doesn't always work, at least not here). Still.... I'd recommend it as a read.
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