Essays Amy Tan The Opposite of Fate

ISBN 13: 9780007169696

The Opposite of Fate

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9780007169696: The Opposite of Fate

A personal account of life as seen through the eyes of one of America's best-loved novelists. Over the course of her writing life, Amy Tan's essays and articles have appeared in numerous magazines, journals and anthologies, much to the delight of her fans. Here she has put together her musings on what she sees as the opposites of fate. This work should illuminate her fiction and give her readers a rare glimpse into her heart and mind. Born into a family that believed in fate, Tan has always looked for ways to make sense of the world - other than the excuse of destiny. From retelling the tales of her ancestors, to redecorating her house, and from seeing ghosts to strapping on skis, her narrative journey reflects on fate's opposites - lucky accidents, choice, memory - as well as on the comfort of accepting her past.

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Review:

Amy Tan begins The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings, a collection of essays that spans her literary career, on a humorous note; she is troubled that her life and novels have become the subject of a "Cliff’s Notes" abridgement. Reading the little yellow booklet, she discovers that her work is seen as complex and rich with symbolism. However, Tan assures her readers that she has no lofty, literary intentions in writing her novels--she writes for herself, and insists that the recurring patterns and themes that critics find in them are entirely their own making. This self-deprecating stance, coupled with Tan’s own clarification of her intentions, makes The Opposite of Fate feel like an extended, private conversation with the author.

Tan manages to find grace and frequent comedy in her sometimes painful life, and she takes great pleasure in being a celebrity. "Midlife Confidential" brings readers on tour with Tan and the rest of the leather-clad writers’ rock band, the Rock-Bottom Remainders. And "Angst and the Second Book" is a brutally honest, frequently hysterical reflection on Tan’s self-conscious attempts to follow the success of The Joy Luck Club.

In a collection so diverse and spanning such a long period of time, inevitably some of the pieces feel dated or repetitious. Yet, Tan comes off as a remarkably humble and sane woman, and the book works well both to fill in her biography and to clarify the boundaries between her life and her fiction. In her final, title essay, Tan juxtaposes her personal struggles against a persistent disease with the nation’s struggles against terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11. She declares her transformative, artistic power over tragedy, reflecting: "As a storyteller, I know that if I don’t like the ending, I can write a better one." --Patrick O’Kelley

About the Author:

Amy Tan is the author of four critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling novels. Her first novel, The Joy Luck Club, was nominated for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a recipient of the Commonwealth Gold Award. The Joy Luck Club was also adapted into a feature film in 1994. Her subsequent novels are The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, and The Bonesetter's Daughter. She lives in San Francisco and New York.

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