The Hundred Secret Senses

by Amy Tan | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0399141146 Global Overview for this book
Registered by kbgoffe of Beaverton, Oregon USA on 3/26/2006
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by kbgoffe from Beaverton, Oregon USA on Sunday, March 26, 2006
Yet another wonderful book by Amy Tan. She is truly a magical writer.

Right now, I am trying to thin out my permanent collection bookshelves. It is time for this book to head out and do some traveling.

Book Description
Olivia, the narrator of this story, was born to an American mother and a Chinese father. She meets her 18-year-old Chinese half sister, Kwan, for the first time shortly after their father's death. Kwan adores "Libby-ah" and tries to introduce her to her Chinese heritage through stories and memories. Olivia is embarrassed by her sibling, but finds as she matures that she has inadvertently absorbed much about Chinese superstitions, spirits, and reincarnation. Olivia explains, "My sister Kwan believes she has Yin eyes. She sees those who have died and now dwell in the World of Yin..." Now in her mid-30s, Olivia, a photographer, is still seeking a meaningful life. The climax of the story comes when she and her estranged husband Simeon, a writer, go to China on assignment with Kwan as the interpreter. In the village in which she grew up, Kwan returns to the world of Yin, her mission completed. Olivia finally learns what Kwan was trying to show her: "If people we love die, then they are lost only to our ordinary senses. If we remember, we can find them anytime with our hundred secret senses."

April 17th 2006 is BookCrossing’s 5th Anniversary!

In honor of this event bookcrosser solittletime decided to challenge us with the Race to Three Million Registered Books. I am encouraged that we can reach the goal of registering 3 million books. Of course, I thought this was a great idea and had to be involved! :)

Amazingly, I have many books hiding around the apartment that still needed to be registered. This challenge was the push I needed to register them.

Here is a list of where I find most of my books:
Beaverton Library’s Book Corner
Powell’s bookstore
Annie Blooms Books
Library sales
and any where else I happen to see a book that catches my eye :)

Mailed out 04/25/06 to Karenlea

Journal Entry 2 by Karenlea from Glendale, California USA on Saturday, April 29, 2006
Caught!!! Thank you so much for the trade. I actually saw Amy Tan today. I attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and she was performing with her band, "The Rock Bottom Remainders." She was singing, "These Boots are Made for Walking." She was pretty good too!!! Then I came home and the book was in my mail box. I am very excited to read it. Thank You!!!

Journal Entry 3 by Karenlea at Glendale, California USA on Thursday, June 27, 2013
I'm a huge fan of Amy Tan and I have read all, but her most recent novel. Tan's third novel, The Hundred Secret Senses, follows two sisters as they try to overcome culture gaps to form a bond.

The narrator is Olivia, a photographer who sets up the story through flashbacks to her childhood. On Olivia's father's death bed, he tells his family that he has fathered a child who is living in a remote village in China and he wishes for his daughter to be brought to America. When Olivia is six, her adult half-sister, Kwan, is brought to live with her family in San Francisco.

Kwan is a bit quirky. She claims to be able to see and communicate with the dead. She is eager to please her new American family, especially Olivia, who finds her customs and invasive nature to be off putting. Most of Kwan's visions of the dead are dismissed as crazy, until Kwan's stories begin to captivate Olivia. Kwan, a very capable storyteller, draws Olivia into her world and she begins to give into the tales of ghosts and past lives.

​The Hundred Secret Senses failed to grab my attention. It's a messy story. Half of the novel is comprised of Kwan's ghost stories and the other half is Olivia's rocky relationship with her husband Simon. The story is muddled and between the two story lines, it takes a painfully long time to play out and intersect. Approximately 95% of the novel is leading up to a reveal that just doesn't merit the time invested in the build.

What's strange is that the story feels more like it should have been broken down into a series of short stories. The tone doesn't match between the various sections and it's jarring. I really didn't care about Kwan's ghost stories. They bogged down the pacing and it took me weeks to finish the book due to a lack of interest.​

The section involving the trip to China began to renew my interest in the novel. I enjoyed Olivia and Simon's adventure in a foreign culture. However, it wasn't too long before Kwan's stories came back into play and I struggled through the last twenty pages. Kwan is an interesting character, but only when she is rooted in the real world and not in her fantasy life.​

I love Tan's writing style and her stories are usually captivating, but this isn't the best example of her talents. ​

Please visit my blog for more reviews and musings.

I plan to set this free in Las Vegas this weekend! This book is going to have an umbrella drink and then go on a journey!

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