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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Excellent exploration into the relationships between mothers and daughters and multi-generational dysfunction. Tan is among the best contemporary writers.Published 2 days ago by Alexa
I am hooked on Amy Tan. I especially enjoyed this book even though it took a little while to 'get into'. Amy draws you in to a story full of delightful characters. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Donna Hayday
I love the writing, Amy Tan has the incredible gift of taking you to another world. I loved this book.Published 17 days ago by Lars Osterdal
This story helped me understand the profound spirituality of the Chinese culture through the journey of Ruth into her mother's and grandmother's nearly forgotten lives.Published 1 month ago by Iris Durfee
This is a great read, unfortunately for me, I discovered I read this years ago! I do not like re-reading books I have already read unless it is a reference tool.Published 1 month ago by Cheryl Cash
What a masterful book. There are two basic story lines -- one of a Chinese American woman dealing with her cantankerous mother in San Francisco, and then that same mother as a... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Prof Lesa