- Save 10% on selected children’s books, compliments of Amazon Family Promotion exclusive for Prime members .
- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
The Opposite of Fate Hardcover – 17 Nov 2003
|New from||Used from|
Special offers and product promotions
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
'Endearing, insightful and unfailingly good-humoured.' Metro
'Ranges from the truly comical to the deeply moving. A wonderful collage. The story of any life is fascinating and Amy Tan's has the added advantage of being told beautifully.' Big Issue
'Delightful. A literary memory box containing all sorts of tantalising odds and ends. This collage or mosaic of bright shards has an immediacy and freshness of spirit.' Jane Shilling, Telegraph
‘Amy Tan is definitely a guru on life, love and imagination.’ Cosmopolitan
‘Amy Tan both comforts and surprises us. She gives us romance and questions it. She gives us home and makes it a lost home. She gives us China and America, and questions the value of each. All told in an elegant, humorous language, full of wit and mystery.’ Guardian
‘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
‘Although the author recalls some painful subjects – a friend’s murder, her mother’s dementia, her own battle with long-undiagnosed Lyme disease – her prose is thoughtful, never maudlin or self-pitying. Tan writes as easily and unpretentiously about herself as about others… An Examined life recalled with wisdom and grace.’ Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
amy tan is the author of four critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling novels. Her first novel, The Joy Luck Club, was nominated for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a recipient of the Commonwealth Gold Award. The Joy Luck Club was also adapted into a feature film in 1994. Her subsequent novels are The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, and The Bonesetter’s Daughter. She lives in San Francisco and New York.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Maybe it's Tan's understanding that tragedy and comedy are inextricably intertwined. Her stories of her ever-evolving relationship with her mother is the stuff of tears, although sometimes those are tears of laughter. Her account of negotiating her mother's mental decline in her last years is heartbreakingly hilarious, as Tan finds herself, e.g., lying to her mother about getting divorced in order to trick her mother into liking her husband again. And there's the whole crazy, crazy, CRAZY story of how her mother suddenly uprooted their family and moved to Europe on a whim.
Or maybe it's Tan's semi-superstitious belief in the interconnection of things, something she describes in "The Ghosts of My Imagination," as she explains her writing process and how, as she stumbles along through a manuscript, she keeps fortuitously encountering things that push her onto the right path and pull everything together. For Tan (like, it has to be noted, her mother in some ways), the world is not just a bunch of random happenings, nor is it purely causal, but rather, held together by a kind of Jungian synchronicity, imbuing both Tan's life and her works with a sense of connectivity and greater meaning.
Or perhaps it's her approach to language, formed by her experiences as the daughter of immigrants who spoke "broken English" themselves, but pushed her to speak "perfect English," something she discusses most poignantly in "Mother Tongue," her essay on the English she speaks with her mother versus the English she speaks with the rest of the world.
There and in other essays, Tan explores what it means, linguistically, culturally, professionally, to be a hyphenated American, when she thinks of herself as just an American, albeit one with family in China. Several times she expresses both the pressure she feels as a representative of "women's writing" and "Asian-American writing," or even worse, "People-of-Color writing," and her distaste of such labels: she considers herself an "American writer," and dislikes the trend of lumping writers together based purely on their ethnicity, even though that may be necessary to showcase writers who otherwise would be ignored. As with everything else in her writing, Tan does not shy away from the difficult questions, and perhaps that is why her writing is so good.
Reading "The Opposite of Fate" is not the same as reading Tan's novels: it by its nature lacks their grand sweep and narrative drive. But it is fascinating, illuminating, and may leave you laughing or crying, or both, as well.
It was a real treat, therefore, to discover that she had decided to write a memoir: finally, we can read the real stories that informed and shaped the fiction; we can catch a glimpse of the horror, pain, pleasure and excitement of a half-american, half-chinese upbringing; we can meet the mother, sisters, husband and friends of one of literature's most famous names; and best of all, we can lose ourselves in another wonderful book from our favorite author.
I almost never read non-fiction so be assured that this is as much of a treat as any of her novels. I shall be giving it to so many people this Christmas.
It is interesting in parts, especially the story of her early life in the first few chapters; her Chinese heritage and her overbearing mother.
After that I struggled through with no great interest.
There are many references to her fiction, particularly The Joy Luck Club, which has now become a film in which she was very involved.
There is also a very tedious section on theories of writing and lectures she has given on the subject. At this stage I skipped 50 pages to the end of the book where she relates a mysterious illness that had haunted her for several years and which turned out to be Lyme's Disease.
I suspect that the onset of these debilitating problems explains why the author wrote this style of book - a memoir combined with previous essays and speeches. Unfortunately it did not grab me at all and I am not left feeling inspired to try her fiction.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Biography > Essays, Journals & Letters
- Books > Biography > Novelists, Poets & Playwrights
- Books > Biography > Social & Health Issues > Cultural History
- Books > Biography > Women
- Books > Mind, Body & Spirit > Thought & Practice > New Age
- Books > Poetry, Drama & Criticism > Essays, Journals & Letters
- Books > Religion & Spirituality > New Age