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Saving Fish from Drowning (2005)

by Amy Tan

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,324982,098 (3.39)137
A pious man explained to his followers: "It is evil to take lives and noble to save them. Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives. I drop my net in the lake and scoop out a hundred fishes. I place the fishes on the bank, where they flop and twirl. 'Don't be scared,' I tell those fishes. 'I am saving you from drowning.' Soon enough, the fishes grow calm and lie still. Yet, sad to say, I am always too late. The fishes expire. And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price. With the money I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes." - Anonymous Twelve American tourists join an art expedition that begins in the Himalayan foothills of China - dubbed the true Shangri-La - and heads south into the jungles of Burma. But after the mysterious death of their tour leader, the carefully laid plans fall apart, and disharmony breaks out among the pleasure-seekers as they come to discover that the Burma Road is paved with less-than-honorable intentions, questionable food, and tribal curses. And then, on Christmas morning, eleven of the travelers boat across a misty lake for a sunrise cruise - and disappear. Drawing from the current political reality in Burma and woven with pure confabulation, Amy Tan's picaresque novel poses the question: How can we discern what is real and what is fiction, in everything we see? How do we know what to believe?… (more)
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» See also 137 mentions

English (96)  German (2)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Nice book. Something different. ( )
  shawndotbailey | Jan 11, 2022 |
So many bad reviews of this book!!!! How is that possible? It's my favorite book that I've read so far this year. ( )
  Jinjer | Jul 19, 2021 |
This book is more like 3.75. I enjoyed it but became frustrated at times with the storyline. ( )
  Tosta | Jul 5, 2021 |
I like Amy Tan but I didn't think this was her best book. I was totally taken in by her introduction, though, believing every word of it! ( )
  Chica3000 | Dec 11, 2020 |
I was truly enjoying this, good tight narrative, that is until the last fifty pages. They became less fiction than more fantasy. In those pages the motif of the ghost/spirit of the deceased palanner of the trip almost disappeared, making the story just a story. ( )
  Ed_Schneider | Mar 8, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding. - Albert Camus
A pious man explained to his followers: "It is evil to take lives and noble to save them. Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives. I drop my net in the lake and scoop out a hundred fishes. I place the fishes on the bank, werhe they flop and twirl. "Don't be scared," I tell those fishes. "I am saving you from drowning." Soon enough, the fishes grow calm and lie still. Yet, sad to say, I am always too late. The fishes expire. And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price. With the money I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes. - Anonymous
Dedication
For Lou DeMattei, Sandra Dijkstra and Molly Giles for saving me countless times.
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It was not my fault.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

A pious man explained to his followers: "It is evil to take lives and noble to save them. Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives. I drop my net in the lake and scoop out a hundred fishes. I place the fishes on the bank, where they flop and twirl. 'Don't be scared,' I tell those fishes. 'I am saving you from drowning.' Soon enough, the fishes grow calm and lie still. Yet, sad to say, I am always too late. The fishes expire. And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price. With the money I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes." - Anonymous Twelve American tourists join an art expedition that begins in the Himalayan foothills of China - dubbed the true Shangri-La - and heads south into the jungles of Burma. But after the mysterious death of their tour leader, the carefully laid plans fall apart, and disharmony breaks out among the pleasure-seekers as they come to discover that the Burma Road is paved with less-than-honorable intentions, questionable food, and tribal curses. And then, on Christmas morning, eleven of the travelers boat across a misty lake for a sunrise cruise - and disappear. Drawing from the current political reality in Burma and woven with pure confabulation, Amy Tan's picaresque novel poses the question: How can we discern what is real and what is fiction, in everything we see? How do we know what to believe?

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