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The Bonesetters Daughter (Basic) [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Amy Tan
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2001 Basic

A stunning reissue of a bestselling, classic novel from the author of ‘The Joy Luck Club’ and ‘The Hundred Secret Senses’.

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. LuLing can only look on, helpless: her prickly relationship with her daughter does not make it easy to discuss such matters. In turn, Ruth has 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.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 567 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786229527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786229529
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,410,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in the US to immigrant Chinese parents, Amy Tan is an internationally celebrated writer. Her novels are The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter, and Saving Fish from Drowning, all New York Times bestsellers. She is also the author of a memoir, The Opposite of Fate, and two children's books. Her work has been translated into 35 languages.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Amy Tan's fourth novel The Bonesetter's Daughter, like her highly successful The Joy Luck Club, explores the conflicts between a Chinese-American woman and her Chinese mother. Set in San Francisco, Ruth and her mother LuLing exercise a frosty commitment to each other. When her mother begins to show signs of Alzheimer's, and her talk of bad luck and curses becomes more jumbled, Ruth realises that her encroaching dependency will change her life. She questions how she will she care for a parent who she mostly resented throughout her childhood. The illness finally prompts Ruth to get her mother's autobiography translated and the central section of the book becomes LuLing's story of her mother, the bonesetter's daughter.

Tan excels at locating the small, quotidian details of Californian domesticity and works the fissures and rifts between the generations very well. She can also blend hip, pop psychology with inherited Chinese lore to amusing effect. But the narrative starts to hum with energy and drive as the story is told from LuLing's perspective. The story shifts to a small Chinese village known as Immortal Heart, in the thirties, where LuLing's mother learnt her father's skill with a splint and special dragon bones dug out of a cave called Monkey's Jaw. The quality of the writing takes on the charm and compulsion of a fable as Ruth's grandmother's tragic life unfolds. In turn, Ruth uses what she learns of the maternal line of resilience to retrieve her own writing voice and vision: "These are the women who shaped her life, who are in her bones...They taught her to worry...They wanted her to get rid of the curses." As she recognises what her mother wants to remember, she begins to define what she wants for her own life.--Cherry Smyth --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Compelling…exotic lands and the past lend themselves to poetry. Tan turns the familiar but harrowing accounts of pre-Communist Chinese women into a romantic and intriguing tale. LuLing is a classic Tan character, a resilient survivor who, like Olivia in The Hundred Secret Senses, betrays someone close to her with dire consequences.' TLS

'A classic…[told with] originality and humour…this is a delicious pagge-turner that keeps you guessing, laughing and crying until the end.' Sunday Express

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and fascinating 18 Jan 2002
By Rachael
I have always been a fan of Amy Tan and after reading The Joy Luck Club and The Hundred Secret Senses I thought the impact of Tan's books would somehow have faded. However, I was completely wrong.
Tan's portrayal of the Mother-daughter relationships is delicate and subtle yet moving, lucid and realistic.
The story of Lu-Ling and Precious Auntie is fascinating from both a historical and emotional point of view. Tan's ability to draw us into the an old world of fable and superstition is remarkable.
Tan's characterisation is also very accurate. Her characters have faults, they live in a world we all recognise.
The Bonesetters Daughter is joy to read, lyrical and vivid. I would recommend this book to any one, regardless of age or culture. This is a beautiful book and like it's author, should be celebrated.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching,amusing attention grabbing to the end 26 April 2001
By A Customer
Another example of Amy Tan's skill in exploring the difficulties of parents bringing up children in a very different culture from the one they themselves were born into; and those children's difficulties in understanding the pressures that have shaped their parent. Touching, amusing account of mother/daughter relationship, as daughter unravels the mystery of her mother's past life
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In revisiting the themes of family history, mother-daughter relationships and their complexities within ABC families, Amy Tan has given us yet another beautifully crafted book.
It is a testament to her skill that fans never tire of the subject matter. Memories of her sharply-drawn charaters remain, long after the reading is done. For this reason any Amy Tan release an eagerly anticipated treat.
Here she has tapped into the rich seam of her Chinese cultural heritage to bring alive such vibrant, unforgettable characters as LuLing and the ill-fated Precious Auntie of her rapidly failing memory.
This work does not quite top the genius of "The One Hundred Secret Senses", but it will not disappoint Amy Tan fans. An absolutely cracking read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must! 9 Jan 2004
By A Customer
The Bonesetter's Daughter is a beautiful book. I read it on my train journey to and from work and couldn't wait to pick it up again. Tan's writing inspires the headiest emotion and makes the reader feel part of the book. The characters are life-like and vivid and have such realistic personalities that you begin to get to know them. This story combines the 20th century worries of a Chinese/American with her ancestor's superstitious world in such a way as to draw the reader into it. You feel that the ghosts could also be watching you and making you trip up or drop your bookmark if you do not follow what is in your heart... beware!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every generation fascinating 30 Jan 2002
By A Customer
I totally disagree with the reviewer from London who didn't find Ruth interesting. I identified with her totally - her love of words and language, her need to please others, her attempt to keep all the strands of her life in order, her guilt - her lack of understanding of her own character. I don't know if I'd want to meet her at a cocktail party but I don't go to them anyway - I certainly enjoyed reading about her and watching her story unfold. LuLing and Precious Auntie were fascinating characters but I couldn't identify with them. The book is wonderful, absorbing, sad but funny, interesting, never boring and I thoroughly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard going to start, but worth the effort! 7 Feb 2006
This was my first Amy Tan book, I wasn't quite sure what to expect but in the end it was worth the effort.
The first section of the book sets the foundations of the main character Ruth's life, which gives the background to the rest of the story. I found this bit slow, hard-going and nearly gave up. However - persevere! I'm glad I did because as soon as you reach the part where she is reading her Mother's story, it completely changes and is unputdownable.
Fans of Memoirs of a Geisha (like me) will like this book - the gentle pace and tone, the beautiful imagery - you'll find yourself immersed again in another culture, time and place.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Ms. Tan has written a monumental novel of the 20th century Chinese immigrants' challenges. The book offers many insights into how children can better integrate into their families by understanding their elders' experiences rather than trying to be totally independent of those experiences. The Bonesetter's Daughter also provides rich food for thought about what the relationships should be between women and men, and parents and their children. The book employs a recycling narrative that will remind the reader of opening up nested Russian dolls.
Ruth Young finds that her mother is failing, especially with her memory. Already busy with a life as a ghostwriter and taking care of her boyfriend and his children, Ruth feels overwhelmed.
A few years earlier, her mother had become interested in passing along some of her heritage and had given Ruth a document written in Chinese. Because Ruth does not read Chinese well, she had put the documents aside. As her mother's mental condition deteriorates, she finds her mother's mind disturbed by having forgotten her mother's real name. Looking through some old papers, she finds another document written in Chinese about things her mother does not want to forget. Hoping to help, Ruth arranges for the documents to be translated.
The bulk of the book then recounts her mother's history in China and in the United States. These experiences were rich and varied, and reading about them will fascinate you.
Addressing the issues raised by solving the question of Ruth's grandmother's name causes Ruth to grow and evolve in her own relationships.
The book is filled with rich themes that are explored from many different dimensions. For example, ghosts are real and important to Ruth's mother, LuLing Young.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Beautifully written
Published 19 days ago by Laura Pritchard
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating exploration of the influence of memory and myth in our...
Tan is a wonderful storyteller with a deceptively spare style. This is a very accurate account of Chinese family thinking placed partly in an American setting where Ruth is... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Novelblue
4.0 out of 5 stars Good to excellent
Great book. Fantastic story with a few twists but, unfortunately I felt slightly let down at the end as it just "ends"! Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommcomend amy tan
Such a lovely poignant tale of family loyalty and lifes cruel fate. a really good read and I learnt so much about chinese culture. fasinating.
Published 6 months ago by fotherh
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I wasn't so sure of this at first, took a while ( not too long tho) to get into it. Once I did I could not put it down, metaphorically of course. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Gigilygirl
5.0 out of 5 stars For Amy Tan fans- this will not disappoint
I put a high rating when I find the book a delight to read and am sad when it comes to an end. This is Amy Tan as you know and love her. No surprises and no disappointments. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Margurite K
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read
A well written novel that covers three generations. The storyline weaves back and forth between daughter, mother and grandmother in a way that held my attention throughout.
Published 11 months ago by Peter Barns
3.0 out of 5 stars The book has disappeared and I am not sad.
We chose this book for our bookgroup read - I sort of enjoyed it but slowly I did not keep picking it up. Read more
Published 12 months ago by J. C. Longton
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful read
Having a Kindle and a 6 month old daughter means for at least an hour every night I can read quietly and get lost in another world and Amy Tan is a master at setting these up. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Claire Bufton
3.0 out of 5 stars Old China in modern US
I cannot rate this novel as highly as most reviewers. The story of three generations of Chinese or Chinese-American women allowed Tan to explore mother-daughter relationships, the... Read more
Published 22 months ago by maryleopard
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