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am 13. Mai 1999
I love this book, I couldn't put it down ever since I first pick it up. Given by my mentor 2 years ago, she always tried to encourage me to read but I always thought it means nothing to me to read something that has nothing to do with me, but after reading this book I can relate to it with so many situations, I think I can start my own book!! Olivia the main character in this book whose also the narrator reminds me so much of myself when I read this book I thought I was actually seeing this book like a mirror to my life. This character that Amy Tan created remind me so much of myself when I was young. Kwan the other character whose Olivia's half sister came from China and Olivia was always ashame of her because Kwan is forever asking her questions because she was not familiar with the American cultures, plus her english was so bad. Kwan reminds me of my mom, whose always trying to speak english yet it sound so funny to me. Kwan has Yin eyes in this book, everynight she would talk to Yin people in the dark and she would tell Olivia many stories about her past life and what she believe in. Kwan tells a story about how she had come to this recent life to keep her promise to Olivia. Kwan has a belief that Olivia was a lady name Ms. Banner that she once met in her past life and She made a promise to Ms. Banner that she would bring her to reunited with her lover. Olivia inreturn never believe a word Kwan said. Kwan was always like a Joke to Olivia. Until one day Kwan took Olivia and her Ex-husband to China, Olivia began to realized that all those stories Kwan once told her was begining to come true, could it be that Kwan really have Yin eyes, and everything she said about her past life was true? Finally Olivia learned to trust Kwan and Learned how to give Kwan the love that Kwan have always given her since the day they met. From shame to except, and exceptance to being Proud. I love this book. again this book had taught me to learn the truth identity of being Chinese and to be proud of who I am. Tan Created Kwan and I truly feel that Kwan is a master piece because she not only taught me to realized the truth and face it but she speaks a language of both world to me and opened up my mind to see things that I never seen, and she moved me and made me cry while reading this book. I give so much props to Tan for such a great character. Trust me everyone, if this is your first book, you must read it, if is the last one then let this be the one you read for your last book. It's truely believable and unforgetable. CL-5/12/99
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am 26. Mai 2000
When I began reading this book, I was a bit confused. I was expecting another book similar to _The Kitchen God's Wife_ or _The Joy Luck Club_ (both of which are very good, by the way). This book, however, is entirely different. Though Tan incorporates the same look into Chinese history, this story has more of a mystical twist. Past lives, yin people-- I felt like I was reading some sort of New Age book (though this is much better than any "new age" book I have ever read). Also, seeing how the American beliefs of Olivia contrast with Kwan's Chinese mindset is fascinating. Tan also addresses the issue of American cultural imperialism-- now China's original nature has been corrupted by American desires and capitalism. This is a book that tugs at your emotions, teaches you about Chinese culture, and opens your mind at the same time. HIGHLY recommended to anyone interested in Chinese culture or mystical topics.
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am 17. April 2000
Of all the books i've read so far in my life, this is definitely the best. The book starts from Olivia's childhood and goes on to adulthood, by the time i finished the book, i felt like i grew up with her. I was watching and feeling her impatience with her half sister Kwan. I shared her embarassment of her sister but as i grew up with Olivia, I also shared her guilt and sorrows for her sister Kwan. This book is not only a good story, it's a good lesson. It puts us through all kinds of emotions and brings us on a tour of China. Ever since I read the book, I couldn't stop thinking about it. All the feelings I shared with Olivia seemed to be implanted into my heart, no way to let go. This book is powerful, enchanting, down to earth, real and unforgettable. I think i'll forever be in love with this book.
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am 1. Mai 1999
A well-described novel that details how a girl comes to find out who herself really is. Olivia is an American girl with a Chinese father who had died when she was just a kid. She might has live like the other American girls. However, a sister from China has changed her life. Following after Kwan, her sister, Olivia has found her dream, her faith, and herself in the far away China. This is a book that connected with every Chinese heart, no matter where they are. The Hundred Secret Senses is mostly focus on the friendship, the love, and the mysterious relationship in the of Olivia and Kwan in their last life time. Chinese people believe that people have so many life turns on after another. And often, they think, what you have done in the first life time might effect the next one. It also tells about how the special talent that Kwan has, she could talk with ghosts. For Chinese people, Kwan must have the yin eyes, so she can see the yin people, who are the ghosts we call in English. With her great talent from God, Kwan has helped Olivia through all the difficulties, though Olivia has always refused her help. So that's the place that show with great love
"No matter how she refuse me, I am going to do anything she needs." This is the third book I read from the same author-Amy Tan. I read her first book, The Joy Luck Club before. I had asked my friends' opinions about this author's book. All the response I got was something like "It's all right," or "It's so boring!!" With a doubtful heart, I still read the book. Through the readings, I found these books went straight into my heart. As a student in an international school, it's hard to tell which group you might fit in the best. But this book taught me how to make my choice. It told me that wherever I am, just remember where I came from and never forget the true self. I recommend this book, to someone, who sometimes confused at who they are and where should they stand.
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am 30. Oktober 1999
The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan was a story about a girl named Olivia, who finds out before her father dies, has a half sister. So her half sister Kwan comes from China to join her family in Daly City. This book is different from Amy Tan's other work The Joy Luck Club, for it deals more between siblings, sister to sister. Also this book involves a scary side with ghosts and strange phenomenon. It starts of when Olivia is told by Kwan that she has a sixth sense, meaning that she can see dead people. Now if you have seen the newest movies out, you have probably seen a movie similar to this book called The Sixth Sense. They are like much similar to that each character deals with seeing dead people, but Amy Tan's book deals with how the character tries to interact with these dead people that she sees, and gets somewhat close to them. Olivia tells her mother and soon her relatives find out that Kwan has special powers that nobody believes and she is sent to a psychiatric ward, so to speak. But after a few years have gone by the story continues, and now they are all grown up. Kwan is now different from when she was younger and now acts more mature, but still has her supernatural abilities. It seemed cruel for her sister Olivia to send her to away, but Kwan still respects her. Their love together as sisters grow, but the supernatural situations continue. Kwan, who sees dead people, makes friends with the dead that she sees, and most of what goes on throughout the book deals with Kwan's "ghost stories that build the stories plot. But I felt this book was interesting, because I could relate to the city life situations, being in Daly City. Also after reading the first few chapters I could not put it down, that is why I recommend this book to other readers. The book although does not really intensify until the end, where Olivia goes to China, where here Chinese life is really shown. I do not want to give away any of the book because it's so good, but in my opinion if you like city life, enjoy ghost stories and sixth senses, I suggest you red this book, The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan.
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am 23. Juli 1999
I had vowed to myself to read an Amy Tan novel and when I came to Amazon.com to see which one I should read the reviews for this book seemed astounding. I thought I would be pleasantly entertained by the book, and I thought it would also be thought provoking. It seemed the only bad reviews for it came from people who really didn't understand the book or couldn't voice themselves properly. But now I wonder, how could everyone have seen this as an incredible book? Sure, Kwan was endearing, and I felt anger at Olivia's insensitivity towards her, but other than that I don't think I really got an indepth feel of the characters. One that I found was especially weak was Olivia's husband. If I was to have any sympathy for their situation I would have liked to have known him better. Most of them seemed like cardboard - one-sided, or they were neurotic - I just couldn't piece them together. That could also describe Amy Tan's writing. Neurotic. All over the place; no overall strong point or message (I really couldn't find one); trying to make a small point or a significant message in one paragraph and failing to make me care because of little elaboration or continuation through the book. It got a little annoying. But I do have to admit I did like the intertwining of the past lives. It had me asking, What is fiction and what is fact (in an historical sense)? It made for a very interesting and touching story, and also a comforting view of the afterlife. In fact, the only thing that may have kept me reading was my need to know who was who and what happened in their past lives. So I guess this book does fine for some easy, lazy, rainy day reading, but it's nothing to get too excited about.
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am 29. Januar 1999
Okay, I read most of the reviews about this book, and I have to say that I agree that this book is good. It's true that Amy Tan's books all talk about American-born Chinese getting in touch with their "inner" or "true Chinese" selves, but I don't think its... repetitive. Anyhow, this book is a good read, it's interesting, it's funny, it's sad, I'm sure most Chinese Americans can relate if they care about being Chinese at all... some of the stuff your parents told you (eat all your rice... or your husband...etc.) are mentioned in this book, it's funny how Chinese parents seem to think the same way. ANYWAYS! About a comment to ----- "A reader from Oakland, CA , December 2, 1998 It's all the same!
Also, isn't anyone else concerned that all the characters grew up in San Francisco, but never encountered black or Latino people? Shouldn't it happen in at least one of the books?"
I think that was a dumb comment. Who cares if they have never met a black or Latino person? It would in no way affect the book. We are talking about Chinese culture here, so meeting other races it totally irrelevant. I mean, if you really CARE, then buy a Toni Morrison book!
In conclusion, THIS BOOK IT WORTH THE BUY! (If you buy paperback, because hardcover is WAY TOO EXPENSIVE! Good bye now.
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am 9. März 2000
Amy Tan, who has written many books including the Joy Luck Club, and the childrens book, The Chinese Cat, has once again expressed her story through a Chinese persons eyes. The Hundred Secret Senses is a delightful book full of ides religion, love, death, and lessons in life.
Olivia, the main character and narrator of this tale, begins by telling about the arrival of her half sister Kwan, from China. Kwan is nearly 18 when she comes to the US. She is unable to communicate in English and knows nothing of the American lifestyle. Olivia, her only companion, albeit unwillingly, is soon filled with Chiness folklore, the Chinese language, and ghosts. Yes, Kwan has Yin eyes, or in other words, the ability to see the deceased that have traveled to the Yin World. Even though the whole ghost thing may be a recurring theme, Tan has an interesting way of adding her own twist.
The plot switches back and forth from Olivia, Simon (Olivia's husband), and Kwan, to Kwans growing experiences in her past life, which she can remember. Each time the section ends at a high point, causing you to want to read on, but unlike some novels who use this stratagy to pull you through boring parts, this book is always exiting, thus letting you enjoy every bit of the book.
The style of writing Amy Tan uses is very intriguing and catchy from the start. You keep reading and reading just to find out what happens next. The storyline is so amazing and different that everyone must read it.
The feeling you get when you finish this book is a sense of hope. In a way, the story leaves hanging, and you have to decide for yourself what really happened.
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am 13. Mai 1999
Amy Tan has written many books. Of most, they contain stories that are told by either a mother or some person from China. All the stories are magnificent and fascinating. Tan did a terrific job on this story. I can feel the character's every thought and sensational emotion. Olivia is the main character of this book. At the night of her father's death, her and her family found out that she has a half-sister in China. Kwan was her name. Olivia and her mother's relationship were never close, her mother only minds her own business. Even though Olivia hated to be with Kwan for her broken English and the fact that she asks too many dumbfounded questions, she had to listen to her stories as they sleep in the same room. Kwan was the only one who cared about Olivia, she was more a mother to Olivia than Olivia's mother herself. Kwan has an usually aspect, it is that she has Yin eyes, eyes that can see ghosts. Olivia was horrified when Kwan introduced her ghost friends to her, but later, Olivia was able to see them as well, she made friends with them. Through out Olivia's childhood, she has listened to many of Kwan's stories when she was back in China. Everynight, regardless if Olivia is asleep or not, Kwan would go on with her stories. As they get older, Olivia was married to Simon, a soul mate she met in college. Years later, they started to have problems, they wanted to get a divorce. Kwan didn't want them to get separated, so she tried everything she could to get them to stay together and get in contact. Because she tried everything and nothing worked, her final idea was to take a trip to China. The three of them went back to the place where Kwan came from, that's when Olivia saw the bed time stories of Kwan's came to live. I have read her other book, The Kitchen God's Wife and The Joy Luck Club, all of them are great books. I ensure you if you read this book, you'll fall in love with it. It's very interesting and mesmerizing.
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am 29. August 1999
When the work of a minority artist receives sudden attention is it always a good thing ? Can an artist ever truly be said to represent hir or her minority group? These are questions that should be raised in view of the widespread acclaim and commercial success of writers like Chinese-American Amy Tan.
Critics have said Tan has "given voice to the Asian-American woman's experience." Her works have joined the ranks of Joy Kogawa and Maxine Hong Kingston on the reading lists of women's studies courses.
But are Tan's works really the stuff of required reading?
No. Even Tan herself has denied that she ever wanted to be part of the "multicultural canon". The public, though, has taken Tan and her works to representative of real Asian women and Asian culture.
Tan's works rely heavily on CRUDE STEREOTYPES of Chinese culture. Her characters dwell in a universe of Oriental "otherness" - literary MSG injected for the American mainstream palate. Not e what Tan implies by her infamous introduction in "Joy Luck Club":
"In America I will have daughter just like me. But over there nobody will say her worth is measured by the loudness of her husband's belch. Over there nobody will look down on her, because I will make her speak only perfect American English.... And she waited, year after year, for the day she could tell her daughter this in perfect American English."
It appears the mainstream press missed the irony in this passage. Tan really seems to be advocating some bizarre 'loser' or "Uncle Tom" mentality for Asian-Americans - "speak proper English or you will be laughed at and rejected, even by your children."
Another (related) problem is that Tan's novels portray almost all the Chinese men negatively. They are either perverse, cheap, impotent, weak, or some combination of theof. The Chinese male characters from The Joy Luck Club consist of a rich middle-age man who rapes An Mei's mother, an obese, impotent boy and a cad who beats and cheats on his wife.
Even the Chinese-American ex-husband of one of the characters is portrayed as a miser who insists on splitting all the household expenses, though he makes far more money than her. These Chinese males are strongly contrasted by their white counterparts. Rich is the goofy but loveable blond guy and Ted is the rich cheating husband who reconciles with his Chinese wife and is part of the happy gathering at the end. One might point out that the male characters are depicted negatively in the work of black female writers like Terry Macmillan (Waiting to Exhale) in the same way. Actually, this comparison brings up another interesting point. The women in Exhale, unlike Joy Luck, didn't find it necessary to run to white males when they found themselves wronged by black men. As well, they didn't hesistate to assesrt themselves and tell the men off, unlike the meek little women in Tan's novels. Tan's women are invariably superstitious or neurotic.
The Hundred Secret Senses is about a young Eurasian woman named Olivia whose life is thrown into disarray by her half-sister Kwan, from is a fresh immigrant from mainland China. Tan's portrayal of Kwan is a compound caricature of the weird and mystical Oriental (she sees "ghosts" everywhere) and the vulgar, ill-mannered immigrant who refuses to assimilate to American ways. Even after 30 years in the US , she still speaks broken English ("Wah ! What you mean!") Tan even comments that "this kind of person would be considered ordainary in some parts of China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan.." It's difficult to know if Tan meant to be ignorant or dishonest.
While Tan's writing perpetuates stereotypes (sadly she also writes children's books) she certainly did not invent them. In his essay in the Asian-American anthlogy "The Big Aiiieee!", veteran critic and writer Frank Chin argues that such stereotypes originated both in fanciful early Western literature as well as in autobiographies, a form of Asian-American writing that remains predominant today (see Wild Swans, Red China Blues, The Hermit Kingdom, etc). Chin goes on to say the literary form of autobiography was descended from the tradition of Christian confession. This partly explains why so much of Asian-American writing reads like "cultural confession." This is not to say all writing by or about Asian culture in North America has followed this pattern.
There have been exceptions. Sui Sin Far's writing and Katherine Anne Porter's ghost-written "My Chinese Marriage" are two examples. Both challenged common misconceptions at the time that all Chinese men were misogynistic and sexless.
In fairness, it should be said that Tan's influence has not been all negative. The success of her books has opened the doors for excellent writers like Shawn Wong and Faye Ng. Also her film hopefully was a step towards convincing Hollywood that a non-action movie with Asian leads can hold its own at the box office.
It is unfortunate though, that Tan become something of a role model for Asian women and other women as well, despite the fact that for her, stereotypes of Asian culture are fact, not fiction.
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