Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Hundred Secret Senses - Amy Tan

Amy Tan is one of those writers who books I always seem to enjoy when I read them, but I haven't read too many - and luckily for me, she has a lot of them.  In The Hundred Secret Senses, half-Chinese-American Olivia is pestered constantly by her full-Chinese born half-sister, Kwan Li.  Olivia just wants to live a normal existence, but finds this difficult with her sister constantly interferring with advice - particularl advice from the ghosts that she is in contact with on a regular basis.  When Olivia's marriage fall apart, she agrees to travel to China - with Kwan Li and her ex-husband.  The book switches between the present day - and Kwan's storytelling of her previous life in China.  As with many of Tan's books, it is a story of past lives and family history, and establishing identity in the face of tremendous expectation.  While the characters were at times infuriating - Olivia is so stubborn (and downright mean at times) and Kwan is so overbearing - Tan writes them as real people - just like one's own family who you can't help but love and protect despite their never-ending annoyances.  

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