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Posts Tagged ‘The Bonesetter’s Daughter’

This week I managed to complete a book that wasn’t on my list at all!

Book 35 – The Bonesetter’s Daughter, by Amy Tan. This book is in three parts. The first part is in the modern day, the second is a history, the third reverts to the modern period. The modern sections involve Ruth and her mother, who is diagnosed with Alzheimers during the course of the book. They explore the relationship between the two, and how that, in turn, has affected Ruth’s relationship with others.

The historical part explores family history – of Ruth’s mother LuLing, LuLing’s own mother, and the horrors of betrayal, violence, cruelty.  It explores how these shaped LuLing’s experience of life, and make sense of her attitude towards her daughter.

I loved the history part of this book. It was full of Chinese superstitions and cultural notes, with a deep sense of the fear and horror of ghosts and wandering souls. The characters were beautifully drawn in their imperfections and inconsistencies. In fact, I didn’t really enjoy the first section much but the second section gave life to the third, and made so much difference to the characters and the possibilities for the future. There were some elements that I think were unnecessary and jarred with the narrative in the first section – such as 11-year-old Ruth’s concern about being pregnant and the after-effects of that – but in part I think the jarring, out of kilter feel of it made the second section much more powerful.

I really enjoy reading work that explores elements of Chinese culture and language so this was a brilliant book for me, and one I’d recommend for anyone interested in the idea that the past can haunt our futures.

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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