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Friday, May 14, 2010

The Bonesetter's Daughter - Amy Tan


A haunting tale of a mother and daughter focusing on the relationship between an immigrant mother and her 'naturalised' citizen daughter.
The book moves between the 1930s and 1940s in China and the 'now' of 1990s in San Francisco. As a daughter finds it difficult to come to terms with her mother's 'supposed' obsessions about her 'own' culture and traditions,she eventually learns of a past that will make every piece of the puzzle fall into place.
Ruth Young is a Chinese-American ghostwriter who helps authors of self-help books write out their words. She is in a relationship with Art, who is divorced and whose two young daughters are now a part of Ruth's life too. Ruth's mother,Lu LingYoung, is diagnosed with a terrible memory loss problem, she is almost on the verge of Alzheimer's, and it is at this stage when things at her mother's place are going completely crazy that she decides to move in with her.
As we read the pages we know how Ruth faced an extremely traumatic childhood.Her father passed away before she could remember him and her mother had to raise her all on her own.The young Ruth is forever scared of her mother,scared of her sharp and scathing tongue and scared of making her sad and more miserable than fate has already made her. Now,when her mother is old and frail and cant seem to remember things,she decides to be a 'mother' to her mother.As she starts to take control of her mother's life,she finds notes that her mother had begun keeping when she thought she was begining to lose her memory.This is how Ruth will come to know of many links from the past that were till now incomprehensible to her.
A lovely read,poetic,full of Chinese traditions and appealing to the senses in a visual feel.