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The Opposite of Fate Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 27, 2003
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Tan manages to find grace and frequent comedy in her sometimes painful life, and she takes great pleasure in being a celebrity. "Midlife Confidential" brings readers on tour with Tan and the rest of the leather-clad writers rock band, the Rock-Bottom Remainders. And "Angst and the Second Book" is a brutally honest, frequently hysterical reflection on Tans self-conscious attempts to follow the success of The Joy Luck Club.
In a collection so diverse and spanning such a long period of time, inevitably some of the pieces feel dated or repetitious. Yet, Tan comes off as a remarkably humble and sane woman, and the book works well both to fill in her biography and to clarify the boundaries between her life and her fiction. In her final, title essay, Tan juxtaposes her personal struggles against a persistent disease with the nations struggles against terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11. She declares her transformative, artistic power over tragedy, reflecting: "As a storyteller, I know that if I dont like the ending, I can write a better one." --Patrick OKelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Tan reminisces on her childhood and the clash of Chinese fate and Christian faith in her upbringing. She provides many details about her family, especially her relationship with her mother. She also talks about the loss of both her father and brother to brain cancer the same year, as well as the deaths of several close friends. She describes her harrowing experience with Lyme's disease. She talks with amusement about doctoral dissertations and Cliff's Notes that analyze her work. She discusses what it means to be classified as an Asian-American writer, and how it feels to be a literary celebrity. She recounts her experiences in the literary rock band "The Rock Bottom Remainders."
I listened to the audio version of this book, which was read by Amy Tan herself. Since this collection let me peek into the author's triumphs, tragedies, hopes, and fears, it was very effective to hear the essays read in her own voice. After reading this book, you will better understand the elements that make up the author's stories, such as the echoes of her mother's influence in the novels' mother-daughter relationships. I recommend this book for every Amy Tan fan. It may provide enough insight on the real Amy Tan so that you'll want to reread some of her novels.
This is not a memoir, rather a collection of thoughts, essays, interviews, memories, even a prize-winning essay Amy Tan wrote when she was eight years old. The pieces at the beginning of the book are more light-hearted than the later ones. In one, Tan is surprised to find that Joy Luck Club has a CliffNotes version and is interested to discover what she was trying to say in her novel. Not only that, the CliffNotes biography doesn't quite match what she recalls from her own life. In another chapter, Tan tells how she became a bad singer in the Rock Bottom Remainders, a bad band. Her story of how Joy Luck Club was made into a movie is fascinating.
There is a lot about Tan's mother, a huge influence in her life, both good and bad. When Tan turns serious, watch out. She has had several brushes with death, and her September 11 memories are out of the ordinary, as well. She also writes about how she came to be a writer and have her first novel published at thirty-seven.
Most of these pieces are quickly read, and only one or two seem seemed too long. I am embarrassed to say that I have not read the novels of Amy Tan, but having finished this very enjoyable "Book of Musings," I look forward to getting her other books right away.
She knows the power of hope, and she shares that knowledge with the reader in a compelling way. I think that love is the ultimate force behind everything she writes about, both in this autobiographical book and in her fiction. It is love that lends a strong sense of reality even to the strangest situations and images in her fiction, making them sound true, important, and exciting. In "The Opposite of Fate", love comes through in many of her musings and descriptions.
I remember something else about THE KITCHEN GOD'S WIFE. I'd never heard of Amy Tan when I happened to pick it up, scan it, and decide to take it home. I sought out THE JOY LUCK CLUB, therefore, only after getting to know Tan's writing from her second book; and although I enjoyed her first, I thought (and still think) that her second novel is better by far. What I loved about both books was the universality of their themes, and of the characters I met in their pages.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
what can I say? I am a devoted fan of this writer... love her quirky take on things and honest portrayal of life as she sees it...Published 2 months ago by Carole Whitcher
This book was one of the best memoirs I have read. Amy Tan uses her great sense of humor to tell us about her life. Very interesting!Published 10 months ago by dgeorgine
Wonderful book. Amy Tan's description of her efforts to have Lyme Disease diagnosed saved me. I knew I was sick but did not know what was wrong with me. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jeanne
It was interesting but also really long and all over the place. But over all it was a nice read.Published 13 months ago by Kindle Customer
The stories that Amy Tan shares in this book have really stuck with me. She is a great inspiration to writers! Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
I really enjoyed an interview I heard with her on the radio. I enjoyed the book for a while, but her insight into life was just not that interesting to me. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jean