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Saving Fish From Drowning [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Amy Tan
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Kurzbeschreibung

7. August 2006
The highly anticipated novel from the bestselling author of 'The Joy Luck Club' and 'The Bonesetter's Daughter'. On an ill-fated art expedition of the Southern Shan State in Burma, eleven Americans leave their Floating Island Resort for a Christmas morning tour - and disappear. Through the twists of fate, curses and just plain human error, they find themselves deep in the Burma jungle, where they encounter a tribe awaiting the return of the leader and the mythical book of wisdom that will protect them from the ravages and destruction of the Myanmar military regime. Filled with Amy Tan's signature 'idiosyncratic, sympathetic characters, haunting images, historical complexity, significant contemporary themes, and suspenseful mystery' (Los Angeles Times), 'Saving Fish from Drowning' seduces the reader with a facade of Buddhist illusions, magical tricks and light comedy, even as the absurd and picaresque spiral into a gripping morality tale about the consequences of intentions - both good and bad - and of the shared responsibility that individuals must accept for the actions of others.

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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 496 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harper Collins Publ. UK; Auflage: First Printing, Moisture Damage (7. August 2006)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0007216165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007216161
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 19,7 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 189.403 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Amazon.de

Amy Tan, who has an unerring eye for relationships between mothers and daughters, especially Chinese-American, has departed from her well-known genre in Saving Fish From Drowning. She would be well advised to revisit that theme which she writes about so well.

The title of the book is derived from the practice of Myanmar fishermen who "scoop up the fish and bring them to shore. They say they are saving the fish from drowning. Unfortunately... the fish do not recover," This kind of magical thinking or hypocrisy or mystical attitude or sheer stupidity is a fair metaphor for the entire book. It may be read as a satire, a political statement, a picaresque tale with several "picaros" or simply a story about a tour gone wrong.

Bibi Chen, San Francisco socialite and art vendor to the stars, plans to lead a trip for 12 friends: "My friends, those lovers of art, most of them rich, intelligent, and spoiled, would spend a week in China and arrive in Burma on Christmas Day." Unfortunately, Bibi dies, in very strange circumstances, before the tour begins. After wrangling about it, the group decides to go after all. The leader they choose is indecisive and epileptic, a dangerous combo. Bibi goes along as the disembodied voice-over.

Once in Myanmar, finally, they are noticed by a group of Karen tribesmen who decide that Rupert, the 15-year-old son of a bamboo grower is, in fact, Younger White Brother, or The Lord of the Nats. He can do card tricks and is carrying a Stephen King paperback. These are adjudged to be signs of his deity and ability to save them from marauding soldiers. The group is "kidnapped," although they think they are setting out for a Christmas Day surprise, and taken deep into the jungle where they languish, develop malaria, learn to eat slimy things and wait to be rescued. Nats are "believed to be the spirits of nature--the lake, the trees, the mountains, the snakes and birds. They were numberless ... They were everywhere, as were bad luck and the need to find reasons for it." Philosophy or cynicism? This elusive point of view is found throughout the novel--a bald statement is made and then Tan pulls her punches as if she is unwilling to make a statement that might set a more serious tone.

There are some goofy parts about Harry, the member of the group who is left behind, and his encounter with two newswomen from Global News Network, some slapstick sex scenes and a great deal of dog-loving dialogue. These all contribute to a novel that is silly but not really funny, could have an occasionally serious theme which suddenly disappears, and is about a group of stereotypical characters that it's hard to care about. It was time for Amy Tan to write another book; too bad this was it. --Valerie Ryan -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Pressestimmen

'An exciting, funny and thought-provoking story...a masterful novel.' The Telegraph 'One can only admire Amy Tan for striking out into unchartered artistic lands.' Sarah Churchwell, Times Literary Supplement 'Sparkling...a very funny book.' Metro 'Tan's compelling portrait of a drowning humanity, pain seeks us out in our hiding places, however far we would run.' Anita Sethi, Observer

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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Rich Karmic Ironies Abound 6. Februar 2007
Von Donald Mitchell TOP 500 REZENSENT
Format:Taschenbuch
If you are looking for a "typical" Amy Tan novel about a Chinese mother and daughter, please be aware that this book doesn't follow Ms. Tan's marvelous prior novels into that rich story-telling vein. If you like satirical novels, you will wonder why Ms. Tan takes so long to lay waste to her targets.

But if you like novels rich in cultural and psychological irony, you've found a gem. I emphasize that point because irony is something that many readers avoid or don't enjoy very much. I find that there are too few well-written ironic novels, and I treasure all those that I find.

Like most stories about ironies, this one takes on such a broad theme that it can be easy to miss the message: Unintended consequences cause your purest impulses to backfire on you and on those you want to help. Ms. Tan's choice of a title gives a broad clue, in referring to an anonymous tale about a pious man who "saves" the lives of fish from drowning by catching them. When the fish die, he's disappointed but realizing that one must never waste anything, he sells the dead fishes to buy more nets . . . so he can save more fish from drowning.

Like a good symphony composer, Ms. Tan then endows her major characters with story lines that let them each play out that theme in their own variations. To make sure we get the point, each personal story is imbued with ironies that are both richly developed and humorous.

To be sure we understand that there are other forces at work, Ms. Tan sets as her initial narrator a wealthy patron of the arts who has just died . . . but is still lingering around to observe her own funeral . . . and the actions of the tour group she had organized.
Lesen Sie weiter... ›
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
5.0 von 5 Sternen Rich Karmic Ironies Abound 9. Februar 2007
Von Donald Mitchell TOP 500 REZENSENT
Format:Taschenbuch
If you are looking for a "typical" Amy Tan novel about a Chinese mother and daughter, please be aware that this book doesn't follow Ms. Tan's marvelous prior novels into that rich story-telling vein. If you like satirical novels, you will wonder why Ms. Tan takes so long to lay waste to her targets.

But if you like novels rich in cultural and psychological irony, you've found a gem. I emphasize that point because irony is something that many readers avoid or don't enjoy very much. I find that there are too few well-written ironic novels, and I treasure all those that I find.

Like most stories about ironies, this one takes on such a broad theme that it can be easy to miss the message: Unintended consequences cause your purest impulses to backfire on you and on those you want to help. Ms. Tan's choice of a title gives a broad clue, in referring to an anonymous tale about a pious man who "saves" the lives of fish from drowning by catching them. When the fish die, he's disappointed but realizing that one must never waste anything, he sells the dead fishes to buy more nets . . . so he can save more fish from drowning.

Like a good symphony composer, Ms. Tan then endows her major characters with story lines that let them each play out that theme in their own variations. To make sure we get the point, each personal story is imbued with ironies that are both richly developed and humorous.

To be sure we understand that there are other forces at work, Ms. Tan sets as her initial narrator a wealthy patron of the arts who has just died . . . but is still lingering around to observe her own funeral . . . and the actions of the tour group she had organized.
Lesen Sie weiter... ›
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
5.0 von 5 Sternen Rich Karmic Ironies Abound 6. Februar 2007
Von Donald Mitchell TOP 500 REZENSENT
Format:Taschenbuch
If you are looking for a "typical" Amy Tan novel about a Chinese mother and daughter, please be aware that this book doesn't follow Ms. Tan's marvelous prior novels into that rich story-telling vein. If you like satirical novels, you will wonder why Ms. Tan takes so long to lay waste to her targets.

But if you like novels rich in cultural and psychological irony, you've found a gem. I emphasize that point because irony is something that many readers avoid or don't enjoy very much. I find that there are too few well-written ironic novels, and I treasure all those that I find.

Like most stories about ironies, this one takes on such a broad theme that it can be easy to miss the message: Unintended consequences cause your purest impulses to backfire on you and on those you want to help. Ms. Tan's choice of a title gives a broad clue, in referring to an anonymous tale about a pious man who "saves" the lives of fish from drowning by catching them. When the fish die, he's disappointed but realizing that one must never waste anything, he sells the dead fishes to buy more nets . . . so he can save more fish from drowning.

Like a good symphony composer, Ms. Tan then endows her major characters with story lines that let them each play out that theme in their own variations. To make sure we get the point, each personal story is imbued with ironies that are both richly developed and humorous.

To be sure we understand that there are other forces at work, Ms. Tan sets as her initial narrator a wealthy patron of the arts who has just died . . . but is still lingering around to observe her own funeral . . . and the actions of the tour group she had organized.
Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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Amazon.com: 3.3 von 5 Sternen  311 Rezensionen
131 von 138 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Glad I didn't read the negative reviews before I read the book 13. Dezember 2005
Von K. L. Cotugno - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I found this book highly engaging and readable, the characters clearly defined. There was a great deal of humor, much of it black, and a great deal of heart. This book was a page turner with a message. Each character is a recognizable tourist type, and most of them would be horrified if they were saddled with the "Ugly American" label. But then, they really aren't "ugly" at all, but well meaning if clueless. On the other hand, the natives are not all innocents, and there is a lot of humor in the misdirections and misunderstandings that ensue. As I say in my title, I am glad I didn't read all these negative reviews first because I probably wouldn't have picked the book up at all and would have missed a nice reading experience.
55 von 60 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Tan can do better 19. November 2005
Von jeri hurd - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I adore Amy Tan's writing. I teach JLC to 10th graders every year, encourage them to go on and read The Kitchen God's Wife or The BoneSetter's Daughter. So when, on a trip to Singapore, I saw her latest novel, I pounced on it, dropped what I was currently reading and started in. Now, I'm the first to say Tan needed to move on; while her tales of family cultural conflict fascinate me, she's talented enough that I wanted to see her branch out. She has here, but not to good effect.

For a writer capable of such nuance and subtlety, I find SFFD oddly flat and predictable, naive even in its attempt to portray the cultural clash between her spoiled California tourists and their hapless kidnappers. Her characterizations are broad and obvious: the tourists think anything less than the Four Seasons is roughing it, travel with syringes and IV drips in case of disease, and effuse about wanting to experience the "real" people while sneering at the tourist route they are so blatantly part of. As a seasoned ex-pat myself, thse people are stereotypes among the travelling set, their broadly drawn characters failing to extend much beyond caricature. Yes, tourist can be patronizing and culturally insensitive and self-involved, all in the name of seeking an off-the-beaten-track experience, but Tan doesn't really tell us anything new, or even especially insightful here. Which is too bad, because her premise was wonderful.

Still, I give it a 3 because it is, after all, Amy Tan, and if we've grown to expect more from her, I'm not sure she should be penalized for writing that's only good, rather than her usual excellent. It is, in the end, a fun read. Just not as riveting as we're used to..
61 von 69 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Step Aside, Mr. Wolfe 24. Oktober 2005
Von Steve Koss - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Fans of Amy Tan are in for a surprise with her latest novel, SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING. In this satirical tale of cross-cultural faux pas, international media, and uninformed American goodwill turned mostly bad, Ms. Tan writes an Asia-centered version of Tom Wolfe's BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES (or perhaps Richard Dooling's WHITE MAN'S GRAVE). Only here, she substitutes Burma (Myanmar) for the Bronx and GNN (read CNN) for the media precipitator of much of the climactic action. The end result, much like Wolfe's 1987 novel, is amusing for its social commentary but light in its literary heft, substituting caricature and fantastic naivete for character and improbable events for plot. Nevertheless, the result is quite entertaining, although hardly likely to spawn any anti-CNN, save the rain forests, or boycott Burma movements.

Ms. Tan chooses as her storytelling vehicle the ghost of a wealthy art patron, Bibi Chen, who has just met an untimely and rather ghastly violent death. Bibi had already organized an art and culture tour for a number of her longtime friends that had planned to follow the fabled Burma Road from Lijiang in southwestern China (claimed by some to be the inspiration for Shangri-La) across the closed border into Myanmar. Despite Bibi's death, her friends decide to follow her itinerary with a new (and unbeknown to them, gay, seizure-prone, and completely inexperienced) guide, Bennie Trueba y Cela. A series of misadventures and misunderstandings plague their trip, most of which the omniscient Bibi-ghost is powerless to prevent, but the group eventually crosses the border with Bibi's mysterious help. Once in Myanmar, more misunderstandings ensue and the twelve travelers finds themselves unknowingly involved in a sort of pseudo-Christian, second coming of Christ cult with members of a Burmese minority group called the Karen. All but one of the group disappear into the deep jungle on what they believe is a Christmas surprise part of their tour, but the rest of the world believes they have either been lost, killed, or kidnapped by anti-government insurgents.

SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING could well have been subtitled "Murphy's Law Comes to Myanmar," or perhaps "The Laws of Unintended Consequences." Innocent behavior turns to cultural insult, and everyone's best intentions create the worst of results. Ms. Tan draws of picture of hopeless cross-cultural confusion, where outdoor latrines turns out to be a sacred shrines, a copy of Stephen King's MISERY becomes the Holy Bible, and smuggled jewels and generous gifts of American dollars threaten or result in violent death at the hands of dictatorial governments. This indeed is the underlying premise of the Chinese fable about saving fish from drowning, that such acts of charity mask other objectives and often do little but harm to their intended recipients.

While Amy Tan's story line is serviceable in its role as socio-cultural satire, her characters are annoyingly stereotyped. The cast is filled with bumbling and culturally obtuse "ugly Americans," from the oversexed television star Harry Bailley to his sex-starved and swooning Chinese-American bombshell of a love object Marlena Chu, from the ultra-hypochondriac Heidi to the remarkably underdrawn Vera, a black woman who objects to the phrase "lazy eye" because "lazy" is a pejorative word. Most editorially unforgivable is the last chapter, a 42-page appendage that adds little and detracts much from the author's focus on events and misunderstandings in Myanmar, in the media, in intergovernmental relations, and among the group members themselves. Even the true nature of Bibi's death, once revealed, lends much weight to the outcome - just one more example of a fish saved from drowning only to die as an unintended result.

With SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING, Amy Tan has abandoned her usual cultural assimilation haunts for satirical realpolitik, tossing a Jon Stewart eye at American values and behavior and the dangers of unthinking, ratings-chasing media sensationalism. While this book is not on a literary par with Ms. Tan's THE BONESETTER'S DAUGHTER, it is nevertheless an engaging and often humorous read.
15 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Innocents abroad 28. Januar 2007
Von Roger Brunyate - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
This was my first Tan novel. I am glad to see that other readers do not consider it typical, for I found it hard to get into, I think because Tan's comic tone distances the emotional impact of the story. A group of well-heeled American tourists depart on a cultural tour of the Burma Road, from China into Myanmar. Bibi Chen, the tour's organizer, dies mysteriously just before departure, but Bibi nonetheless relates events as a ghostly (and often gossipy) narrator as the party departs without her. The group almost immediately gets into trouble by changing her careful plans. So perhaps Bibi is justified in her omnisciently patronizing air: the tourists are portrayed as shallow and behave crassly; the new settings are offbeat or downmarket; the comedy has a sour edge. It is hard to like any of the characters at this stage, and nothing is entirely believable.

So far, this is the package tour from hell. But the tone deepens towards the middle of the book, as the travelers get involved in a more serious situation, with both political and spiritual implications. We get to know some (but not all) of the characters better, to understand and even like them. The rainforest setting, a jungle anti-Eden inhabited by outcasts, is striking and thought-provoking. At times, I was even reminded of the empathy between captors and captives in Ann Patchett's magnificent BEL CANTO, which is high praise. But then Tan's comic sensibility resurfaces in a wryly cynical coda. While it wraps everything up neatly enough, it seems altogether too trivial for the large themes she had touched on earlier.
17 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Not her usual, but Great All the Same! 11. November 2006
Von Warlen Bassham - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Like many other reviewers on this site, I was put off a bit at first by the 'new' Amy Tan I was discovering, who didn't seem to live up to my expectations. She didn't feel like the same author at all, and I kept missing what I think of as her 'soft whisper voice.'

The voice this time out is sardonic, a bit silly, even snide at times. Of course, it's not Ms. Tan 'talking,' it's Bibi Chen, the dead narrator. It takes a while for her character to establish itself, but once she does, I for one was hooked, and by the end I was just as moved, entertained, and satisfied as usual. 'Secret Senses' is still my favorite, but this one is by no means poorly done, as some have implied.

The plot is simple enough. A group on tour in Asia disappears while in Myanmar, and the one remaining tour member, who manages not to disappear with them, is rather beside himself [in more ways than one] in trying to figure out what has happened to the others, and, if possible, save them.

The ghost who narrates the entire book knows what happened, and therefore we do too, and it's apparent to her and to us that things are not quite as bad as they might be. But they're bad enough. The group is being held captive, sort of, by some tribesmen who live in abject fear of Myanmar's military, and rightly so. They tourists become pawns in a power struggle involving the U.N., the government of what used to be Burma, various diplomats, and, most of all, the news media, especially a world-wide TV news service known as Global News Network, or GNN. [Har har!]

The story line works itself out much as you suspect it will, but along the way we learn a lot about what makes personal relationships work [or not], what makes things 'newsworthy' [or not], the fact that things don't always mean what they seem to, and the difference between individual people of all ethnicities and the group identifiers we have come to associate with them.

Which brings us to the most important point of this book, and indeed of all Amy Tans books, and very possibly of ALL good books, by anybody: the importance of the individual. We know these truths to be self evident-- that the individual human being is ALWAYS more important than whatever group he or she belongs to, than his or her ethnicity, than his or her political affiliation, religion, or whatever. We know all this, but in this day and age of mass information and misinformation, it doesn't hurt to be reminded from time to time by someone as eloquent as Amy Tan.
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