Monday, October 02, 2006

The Bonesetter's Daughter

The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan

Two worlds meet: pre-Communist China and modern day San Francisco. As ghost-writer, Ruth struggles to find her way at a crisis point in her life, she gradually untangles the truth of her mother, Lu-ling’s story and learns about her grandmother, the three generations of women linked by courage and the instinct for survival.

The story carries you between Lu-ling’s childhood in Immortal Heart, a remote mountain village in China with all its ancient traditions and superstitions and Ruth’s very different growing up as an only child of a widowed mother in poor areas of San Francisco, carrying the burden of interpreting this strange western world to her mother.

From the back cover:”...The Bonesetter’s Daughter is an extraordinary and inspiring excavation of the human spirit. With great warmth and humour, Amy Tan gives us a mesmerising story of a mother and daughter discovering together that what they share in their bones through history and heredity is priceless beyond measure.”

Amy Tan writes with great understanding and flair, unfolding the characters a little at a time and turning them around so that by the end you see them from a new perspective with their life story told. They leap from the page into life, flawed but human and compelling.

This was my second time of reading and I found it just as absorbing as the first. I loved the contrast between the high pressured modern writer producing to deadlines on a computer and the traditional Chinese methods of mixing your own ink from a fine quality inkstick to produce the most exquisite calligraphy:
“when you push an inkstick along an inkstone, you take the first step to cleansing your mind and your heart. You push and you ask yourself, What are my intentions? What is in my heart that matches my mind”.
The complexities of mother/daughter relationships and the need for resolution and forgiveness were beautifully explored too.

Click here to order The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan from Amazon or find out more.

1 comment:

Rose&Thorn said...

An excellent read, opening doors in the mind which would not normally be explored until you really have to.