What a slog! Nearly 600 pages of plodding writing with unlikeable characters. As a former Amy Tan fan, I was looking forward to this book, but I had to force myself through the pages. Tan tells the stories of a mother and daughter in Shanghai at the beginning of the last century. Unfortunately, the great majority of the book (400 pages) is the story of the less interesting (and more unlikeable) daughter. I kept on reading only to get to the mother's story. Tan excels at mini-stories, fables, and backstories of minor characters. Whenever she launches into one of these, the writing is compelling. Unfortunately, these mini-stories are few and far between. I kept feeling that I had read a superior version of this book, and I realized that it was "Memoirs of a Geisha".
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