Saving Fish from Drowning

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Amy Tan

Narrated By: Amy Tan

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Date: October 2005

Duration: 17 hours 42 minutes


A pious man explained to his followers: "It is evil to take lives and noble to save them. Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives. I drop my net in the lake and scoop out a hundred fishes. I place the fishes on the bank, where they flop and twirl. 'Don't be scared,' I tell those fishes. 'I am saving you from drowning.' Soon enough, the fishes grow calm and lie still. Yet, sad to say, I am always too late. The fishes expire. And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price. With the money I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes." - Anonymous Twelve American tourists join an art expedition that begins in the Himalayan foothills of China - dubbed the true Shangri-La - and heads south into the jungles of Burma. But after the mysterious death of their tour leader, the carefully laid plans fall apart, and disharmony breaks out among the pleasure-seekers as they come to discover that the Burma Road is paved with less-than-honorable intentions, questionable food, and tribal curses. And then, on Christmas morning, eleven of the travelers boat across a misty lake for a sunrise cruise - and disappear. Drawing from the current political reality in Burma and woven with pure confabulation, Amy Tan's picaresque novel poses the question: How can we discern what is real and what is fiction, in everything we see? How do we know what to believe? Saving Fish from Drowning finds sly truth in the absurd: a reality TV show called Darwin's Fittest, a repressive regime known as SLORC, two cheroot-smoking twin children hailed as divinities, and a ragtag tribe hiding in the jungle - where the sprites of disaster known as Nats lurk, as do the specters of the fabled Younger White Brother and a British illusionist who was not who he was worshipped to be. With her signature "idiosyncratic, sympathetic characters, haunting images, historical complexity, significant contemporary themes, and suspenseful mystery" (Los Angeles Times), Amy Tan spins a provocative and mesmerizing tale about the mind and the heart of the individual, the actions we choose, the moral questions we might ask ourselves, and above all, the deeply personal answers we seek when happy endings are seemingly impossible.


  • Anonymous

    By the middle of disk two (of 15!) I knew I'd never finish the book. Too much uninteresting detail.

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed this book. I am a big fan of Amy Tan. You feel like you are on this journey with the characters in the book. I highly recommend this book.

  • Anonymous

    I just couldn't get interested in this book...tried reading and listening to it. Just too boring.

  • Debbie

    Hard to hear--she narrates her own book and does not enunciate--POOR FORM. Having said that, I was so bored by disc 10 that I could not bear another moment and sent it back. I did not care if the protagonists lived or died--so what's the point??

  • Writeguy99

    Amy Tan is an excellent writer, and I have always enjoyed her books. The writing for Saving Fish is also top notch. However, I would suggest she leave the reading of audio books to others, as the quality of reading was poor, as was the overall sound quality. I actually returned the audio book early bacause of the quality issues. I will leave it to finish the book in paper book form.

  • Sue

    I have long enjoyed Amy Tan's books, and this one was no exception. Her story is intriguing, as it is based on an actual event. It was made even more enjoyable because Ms. Tan is the narrator, no one else could have done a better job.

  • Carol Ann Timmel

    I couldn't follow this story at all. I almost fell asleep driving my car. I got through the first 2 CDs and couldn't wait to send back all 8. Don't waste your time... unless you're trying to fall asleep. I find a lot of these CDs would be better with the right reader. Amy's voice is sweet and soothing. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

  • Ann

    When I saw a brief summary of this book, I wondered if this book would appeal to me. I should have listened to my instincts as I just could not get into the story. I hesitate being critical as perhaps it will appeal to Amy Tan readers.

  • Angelika Teal

    I am not really a fan for Amy Tan or specifically interested in the chinese or burmese culture and therefore may not be able to give fair judgement, but the book was very lengthy and it took me a few chapters to even understand where the book was heading to. Once I understood and the story was well on its way I started to get interested in the plight of the people in Burma and the atrocities committed by the military junta in former Burma. I liked how it was embedded in the story of 11 American tourists and the misunderstandings and mishaps on their trip through Burma and China. I also liked how it showed the reality about News Network castings and reality made by Hollywood and TV. The sad part is that it is the Burmese ethnic tribes are really the losers and the end of the book just stresses how hopeless the situation is for them. I liked the message of the book, but it could have been told in a lot less words.

Saving Fish from Drowning

by Amy Tan

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Saving Fish from Drowning, Amy Tan