A major new novel from the internationally bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife and The Hundred Secret Senses.
LuLing Young is now in her eighties, and finally beginning to feel the effects of old age. Trying to hold on to the evaporating past, she begins to write down all that she can remember of her life as a girl in China. Meanwhile, her daughter Ruth, a ghostwriter for authors of self-help books, is losing the ability to speak up for herself in front of the man she lives with. LuLing can only look on, helpless: her prickly relationship with her daughter does not make it easy to discuss such matters. In turn, Ruth has begun to suspect that something is wrong with her mother: she says so many confusing and contradictory things.
Ruth decides to move in with her ailing mother, and while tending to her discovers the story LuLing wrote in Chinese,of her tumultuous life growing up in a remote mountain village known as Immortal Heart. LuLing tells of the secrets passed along by her mute nursemaid, Precious Auntie; of a cave where dragon bones are mined and where Peking Man was discovered; of the crumbling ravine known as the End of the World, where Precious Auntie's bones lie, and of the curse that LuLing believes she released through betrayal. Like layers of sediment being removed, each page unfolds into an even greater mystery: Who was Precious Auntie, whose suicide changed the path of LuLing's life?
Set in contemporary San Francisco and pre-war China, The Bonesetter's Daughter is an excavation of the human spirit. With great warmth and humour, Any Tan gives us a mesmerising story of a mother and daughter discovering together what they sharein their bones through history and heredity is priceless beyond measure.
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Amy Tan's fourth novel The Bonesetter's Daughter, like her highly successful The Joy Luck Club, explores the conflicts between a Chinese-American woman and her Chinese mother. Set in San Francisco, Ruth and her mother LuLing exercise a frosty commitment to each other. When her mother begins to show signs of Alzheimer's, and her talk of bad luck and curses becomes more jumbled, Ruth realises that her encroaching dependency will change her life. She questions how she will she care for a parent who she mostly resented throughout her childhood. The illness finally prompts Ruth to get her mother's autobiography translated and the central section of the book becomes LuLing's story of her mother, the bonesetter's daughter.
Tan excels at locating the small, quotidian details of Californian domesticity and works the fissures and rifts between the generations very well. She can also blend hip, pop psychology with inherited Chinese lore to amusing effect. But the narrative starts to hum with energy and drive as the story is told from LuLing's perspective. The story shifts to a small Chinese village known as Immortal Heart, in the thirties, where LuLing's mother learnt her father's skill with a splint and special dragon bones dug out of a cave called Monkey's Jaw. The quality of the writing takes on the charm and compulsion of a fable as Ruth's grandmother's tragic life unfolds. In turn, Ruth uses what she learns of the maternal line of resilience to retrieve her own writing voice and vision: "These are the women who shaped her life, who are in her bones...They taught her to worry...They wanted her to get rid of the curses." As she recognises what her mother wants to remember, she begins to define what she wants for her own life.--Cherry SmythReview:
‘Compelling…exotic lands and the past lend themselves to poetry. Tan turns the familiar but harrowing accounts of pre-Communist Chinese women into a romantic and intriguing tale. LuLing is a classic Tan character, a resilient survivor who, like Olivia in The Hundred Secret Senses, betrays someone close to her with dire consequences.' TLS
'A classic…[told with] originality and humour…this is a delicious pagge-turner that keeps you guessing, laughing and crying until the end.' Sunday Express
'She is a dazzling storyteller, equally adroit at negotiating the pitfalls of Ruth's freewheeling partnership with Art and recreating traditional family life in rural China, with its superstition, ritual and social hierarchies. The Bonesetter's Daughter celebrates the importance of family history, in particular the stories shared between mother and daughter, and makes an unobtrusive plea for the right of all human beings, however humble or displaced, to an informed, sensitive and patient hearing.' Literary Review
'Could there be a better model for writers today than Amy Tan? She tells great stories with powerful themes: love, belonging, exile, death, compassion. She moves easily between pathos, comedy and joy. She never shows off – the technique is so perfect it is invisible. She is that rare, enviable creature, a literary novelist who writes bestsellers.
This is great tragic writing, looking at the worst of human experience with a compassionate and understanding eye. I doubt if any writer alive is capable of telling such a story.’ Scotland on Sunday
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Book Description New York G. P. Putnam's Sons 2, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007107226
Book Description New York G. P. Putnam's Sons 2, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 7107226