Monday, August 20, 2007

 

Saving Fish from Drowning

If you're looking for a great book, I've got a suggestion. Try Amy Tan's "Saving Fish from Drowning." Her book, which is fiction, starts with a note to the reader that explains the genesis for the story. Seems Amy was caught in a rain storm in Manhattan one day and ducked into the American Society for Psychical Research for protection. While there she did some research on automatic writing, finding that a woman named Karen from California had channeled a woman named Bibi Chen, someone Amy was actually familiar with. Amy interviewed Karen and read the writings Bibi had sent through her. Bibi mentioned within her writings the disappearance of eleven tourists in Burma. Just after the note to readers, Amy had placed an article from the newspaper into her book that concerns these tourists. From this ingenious premise, Amy constructed her story. She has written it so well (having done her research beyond that of talking to Karen and reading the channeled writings of Bibi) that it reads like nonfiction. I kept asking myself whether this or that part of the story was true. Where did Amy take artistic license? When you can't tell, that's the mark of an excellent writer.

P.S. The title of the book is from a small parable that appears after the copyright page.

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