LuLing Young is now in her eighties, and finally beginning to feel the effects of old age. Trying to hold on to the evaporating past, she begins to write down all that she can remember of her life as a girl in China. Meanwhile, her daughter Ruth, a ghostwriter for authors of self-help books, is losing the ability to speak up for herself in front of the man she lives with. Ruth has also begun to suspect that something is wrong with her mother: she says so many confusing and contradictory things.
Ruth decides to move in with her ailing mother, and while tending to her discovers the story LuLing wrote in Chinese, of her tumultuous life growing up in a remote mountain village known as Immortal Heart. LuLing tells of the secrets passed along by her mute nursemaid, Precious Auntie; of a cave where dragon bones are mined and where Peking Man was discovered; of the crumbling ravine known as the End of the World, where Precious Auntie′s bones lie, and of the curse that LuLing believes she released through betrayal. Like layers of sediment being removed, each page unfolds into an even greater mystery: Who was Precious Auntie, whose suicide changed the path of LuLing′s life?
Set in contemporary San Francisco and pre-war China, The Bonesetter′s Daughter is an excavation of the human spirit. With great warmth and humour, Any 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.
What they said:
′A classic told with originality and humour - this is a delicious page-turner that keeps you guessing, laughing and crying until the end.′
′She is a dazzling storyteller, equally adroit at negotiating the pitfalls of Ruth′s freewheeling partnership with Art and recreating traditional family life in rural China, with its superstition, ritual and social hierarchies.′
′Could there be a better model for writers today than Amy Tan? She tells great stories with powerful themes: love, belonging, exile, death, compassion. She moves easily between pathos, comedy and joy.′
Scotland on Sunday
Memory plays an important part in The Bonesetter′s Daughter. How is Ruth′s life affected by her memories? How does LuLing′s memory affect her behaviour?
How do the cultures of America and China differ in the book? Does Chinese superstition have a stronger hold over the characters than their current culture?
How do you see the changes in the relationship between Ruth and her mother? Who is at fault when they argue and why does Ruth feel the need to distance herself from her past?
If you like The Bonesetter′s Daughter you might also like:
Memoirs of a Geisha
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
About the author:
Amy Tan was born in California, several years after her parents had immigrated to San Francisco from China. After attending a writers′ workshop that often met at her house, her collection of stories, The Joy Luck Club, was published and went on to become a word-of-mouth bestseller that spent more than 40 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was adapted into a feature film. Tan only learned her mother′s and grandmother′s real name when her mother died. This astonishing discovery, as well as her own experiences with family secrets and histories, led to The Bonesetter′s Daughter. In acknowledgments to the book she writes: ′The heart of this story belongs to my grandmother, its voice to my mother′.
Other books by Amy Tan:
The Joy Luck Club
A Hundred Secret Senses
The Kitchen God′s Wife
The Opposite of Fate
About Amy Tan