Amy Tan, Author, Amy Tan, Performed by, Joan Chen, Performed by
Amy Tan, Author, Amy Tan, Performed by, Joan Chen, Performed by , read by the author and Joan Chen. New Millennium $27 (0p) ISBN 978-1-931056-32-8
Reviewed on: 05/07/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001

Tan's empathetic insight into the complex relationship of Chinese mothers and their American-born daughters is again displayed in her latest extraordinary, multi-layered tale. Now suffering from Alzheimer's, Lu Ling's references to the past are confusing and contradictory—particularly her desperate attempts to communicate with her deceased Precious Auntie, who was her nursemaid—and Ruth worries about her mother's health. But when Ruth translates Lu Ling's lengthy journal, she learns that her mother was once a strong-willed, courageous girl who overcame a background of family secrets and lies, persevered despite romantic heartbreak and survived tremendous hardships and suffering in war-torn China. Tan deftly handles narrative duties as Ruth, the exasperated but loving daughter, while Chen is perfect as the quick-speaking, accented Lu Ling. Lu Ling's first-person diary is particularly suited to audio: we hear the young girl directly reveal her secret hopes and dreams, and watch her grow from a naive innocent to a sharp-eyed survivor. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 4). (Feb.)

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