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The bonesetter's daughter by Amy Tan

The bonesetter's daughter (original 2001; edition 2001)

by Amy Tan

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6,22587652 (3.75)121
Title:The bonesetter's daughter
Authors:Amy Tan
Info:New York : Ballantine Books, 2002, c2001.
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan (2001)

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    Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: The Bonesetter's Daughter depicts a contemporary Chinese-American woman who learns about her immigrant mother's past, while Songs of Willow Frost portrays a Chinese-American actress during the Great Depression. Both atmospheric novels explore the social and economic marginalization of women.… (more)

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» See also 121 mentions

English (82)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All (87)
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
I feel like I can't really be objective about this book. I just love Amy Tan too much as a writer. I have loved every book of hers and can never find anything bad to say about them.

I loved all the characters in this book, and felt they were well written and 3 dimensional. I hated the main character's (Ruth Young) husband and step children. They were needlessly mean and She could have done way better for herself. At the same time, they were well written.

These books take me longer to read because I really like the world I'm dropped in and like to take my time. A great book, with a great story! ( )
  Sarah_Buckley | Sep 17, 2016 |
Although I enjoyed this I didn't think it was as good as 'The Kitchen God's Wife' ( )
  GeneHunter | Mar 13, 2016 |
A very good book. Tan writes so well about the struggle between mothers and daughters to love and accept one another. She frequently deals, too, with mother's attempts to shield and protect daughter from her pains - as if hiding a dreadful past will keep the daughter safe from her own heartaches. Here, the mother's Alzheimer's adds another dimension. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 9, 2016 |
Really a 2.5 for me. My first Amy Tan, and I feel a bit guilty that I did not appreciate it more given how well regarded she is. I found the first part, set in the present, to be way too long for me, I didn't feel as though I cared much for Ruth and Art and their relationship. And I get this is about relationships, all about relationships. The part set in China was more engaging, but not overwhelmingly so. Part three back in the present was better than part one. Overall though, it did not engage me emotionally. ( )
  MaureenCean | Feb 2, 2016 |
I packed a few books to read during my vacation and found this one in my suitcase from last year's vacation---unread. So I kept it there, thinking I couldn't possibly ever get to it this year. But I ended up in the hospital for days and had plenty of time to read it! Fate!
I devoured it in two days, as it was difficult to put down for a minute! As with all Amy Tan novels, I tear through hungrily, only stopping occasionally to ponder the web of connections she makes, and then I end up crying and satisfied. I'm always more into my mother afterward! So this novel helped me appreciate family more--appropriate for a vacation for a family reunion! ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Amy Tanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abelsen, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chen, JoanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On the last day that my mother spent on earth, I learned her real name, as well at that of my grandmother. This book is dedicated to them. Li Bingzi and Gu Jingmei
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These are the things I know are true:
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Synopsis for the Dutch edition:
"Wat zou er nog meer in het binnenste van de leunstoel liggen? Ze tastte rond en vond een pakket van bruin inpakpapier, omwonden met een rood kerstlint. Er zat een stapel papier in, met Chinese tekst. Sommige vellen hadden bovenaan een zwierig gekalligrafeerd karakter. Dit had ze al eens eerder gezien. Maar waar?' Als Ruth het huis van haar moeder opruimt, vindt ze een manuscript onder de zitting van een oude stoel. Haar moeder heeft nooit iets losgelaten over haar Chinese verleden, over haar voorouders en over de reden van haar plotselinge vertrek naar Amerika. Maar nu blijkt Ruth het zorgvuldig opgetekende levensverhaal van haar moeder in handen te hebben. Al lezend leert ze haar eindelijk kennen."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345457374, Paperback)

At the beginning of Amy Tan's fourth novel, two packets of papers written in Chinese calligraphy fall into the hands of Ruth Young. One bundle is titled Things I Know Are True and the other, Things I Must Not Forget. The author? That would be the protagonist's mother, LuLing, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. In these documents the elderly matriarch, born in China in 1916, has set down a record of her birth and family history, determined to keep the facts from vanishing as her mind deteriorates.

A San Francisco career woman who makes her living by ghostwriting self-help books, Ruth has little idea of her mother's past or true identity. What's more, their relationship has tended to be an angry one. Still, Ruth recognizes the onset of LuLing's decline--along with her own remorse over past rancor--and hires a translator to decipher the packets. She also resolves to "ask her mother to tell her about her life. For once, she would ask. She would listen. She would sit down and not be in a hurry or have anything else to do."

Framed at either end by Ruth's chapters, the central portion of The Bonesetter's Daughter takes place in China in the remote, mountainous region where anthropologists discovered Peking Man in the 1920s. Here superstition and tradition rule over a succession of tiny villages. And here LuLing grows up under the watchful eye of her hideously scarred nursemaid, Precious Auntie. As she makes clear, it's not an enviable setting:

I noticed the ripe stench of a pig pasture, the pockmarked land dug up by dragon-bone dream-seekers, the holes in the walls, the mud by the wells, the dustiness of the unpaved roads. I saw how all the women we passed, young and old, had the same bland face, sleepy eyes that were mirrors of their sleepy minds.
Nor is rural isolation the worst of it. LuLing's family, a clan of ink makers, believes itself cursed by its connection to a local doctor, who cooks up his potions and remedies from human bones. And indeed, a great deal of bad luck befalls the narrator and her sister GaoLing before they can finally engineer their escape from China. Along the way, familial squabbles erupt around every corner, particularly among mothers, daughters, and sisters. And as she did in her earlier The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan uses these conflicts to explore the intricate dynamic that exists between first-generation Americans and their immigrant elders. --Victoria Jenkins

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:54 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Ruth Young and her widowed mother, LuLing, have always had a tumultuous relationship. Now, before she succumbs to forgetfulness, LuLing gives Ruth some of her writings, which reveal a side of LuLing that Ruth has never known.... In a remote mountain village where ghosts and tradition rule, LuLing grows up in the care of her mute Precious Auntie as the family endures a curse laid upon a relative known as the bonesetter. When headsrong LuLing rejects the marriage proposal of the coffinmaker, a shocking series of events are set in motion -- all of which lead back to Ruth and LuLing in modern San Francisco. The truth that Ruth learns from her mother's past will forever change her perception of family, love, and forgiveness.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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