Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Blogging again

Thanks to Emily for posting my blogs while I was unable to. Signing into New Blogger has done the trick. Now to Amy Tan.
The Kitchen God's Wife was the second book of hers I have now read and I felt about the earlier book (The Bonesetter's Daughter) as I did about this one. I cannot say that I enjoyed it. It was certainly a compelling, but also an exhausting read. (I felt the same after reading Dan Brown.) I think you liked the book, Emily, for some of the reasons that I did not which I find interesting. Perhaps one has to be in the right mood, which is rather unfair on the book.

The author has plenty of imagination and likes to put all the ideas in. She keeps you wondering what on earth can happen next. Misery and misfortune were plentiful and if losing one baby isn't enough, Winnie has to lose three, her half brother is unfairly executed, her mother disappears, her father sends her away, she is not welcomed by her aunts and so it continues. She is married into a bad family and on several occasions her friends betray her to Wen Fu, in spite of knowing the kind of man he is. At each turn there are almost insurmountable problems.

Amy Tan brings to life the Chinese culture from the women's point of view and includes interesting historical detail. This seems to be her main aim and I would have preferred to have the Chinese story as a straight narrative, (albeit, edited). The events in California seem an unnecessary addition to the story. She is a very fluent writer and, as Emily said, gives a vivid picture of the various settings of the story.

I would call this book a pot-boiler, with a story that stretches credulity quite a long way. Winnie certainly has a good memory, with the amount of detail that pads out the story. I was rather impatient, having to wade through this while waiting for the denoument of the current crisis. I breathed a sigh of relief on reaching the end!