The Hundred Secret Senses

The Hundred Secret Senses

Book - 1995
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The Hundred Secret Senses is an exultant novel about China and America, love and loyalty, the identities we invent and the true selves we discover along the way. Olivia Laguni is half-Chinese, but typically American in her uneasiness with her patchwork family. And no one in Olivia's family is more embarrassing to her than her half-sister, Kwan Li. For Kwan speaks mangled English, is cheerfully deaf to Olivia's sarcasm, and sees the dead with her "yin eyes."

Even as Olivia details the particulars of her decades-long grudge against her sister (who, among other things, is a source of infuriatingly good advice), Kwan Li is telling her own story, one that sweeps us into the splendor, squalor, and violence of Manchu China. And out of the friction between her narrators, Amy Tan creates a work that illuminates both the present and the past sweetly, sadly, hilariously, with searing and vivid prose.

"Truly magical...unforgettable...this novel...shimmer[s] with meaning."--San Diego Tribune

" The Hundred Secret Senses doesn't simply return to a world but burrows more deeply into it, following new trails to fresh revelations."--Newsweek
Publisher: Putnam's, 1995.
ISBN: 9780375701528
Branch Call Number: FICTION TAN


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Oct 23, 2017

This was the kind of story that made me just want to read right to the end in one sitting. The story itself, although interesting, was not the real reason. I just loved Tan's writing; her way of relating thoughts as interesting inner conversations with oneself. Her characters are always interesting and this story about two half-sisters really kept my attention. Olivia meets her half-sister when Kwan-Li arrives from China at the age of fourteen. She speaks an endearing, or annoying depending on your perspective, kind of English, and takes to Olivia in a big way proclaiming she will look after her always. It seems Kwan Li can see dead people with her yin eyes and believes that people are born again just to be with those they love. To enjoy this story you must believe that Kwan Li is exactly who she says she is with the abilities she says she has. I found her delightful with her fractured English and her seemingly always sunny disposition. Olivia in her own way was also endearing with her frustrations and her doubts about her life and her anguish about not having a child. As excellent a read as Tan's other books.

Apr 04, 2013

Pop fiction. Set in California and Southern China, this novel tells the story of a woman and her half-sister, who see ghosts and tell ghost stories set in the 19th century. Unconvincing and unsatisfying.

penpencil22 Jun 24, 2011

My all-time favorite book by Amy Tan. gotta love Kwan :)

Feb 11, 2011

This was a magical book, hard to put down...finished it rather quickly due to compelling story and interesting characters.

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