Friday, April 28, 2006

Saving Fish from Drowning

That's Amy Tan's latest. I'm afraid I can't recommend it. While I adore her first four novels, this one, with the notable exception of the narrator, is uncharacteristically full of one-dimensionial silly rich people you won't care about at all. That's a huge disappointment from the pen that gave birth to the incredibly rich characters of The Joy Luck Club.

But there are flashes of wit sprinkled throughout the book which somewhat reward you if you have the patience to wade through it. My favorite part remains the introduction, an anonymous quote Tan gives us:

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.
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