The Bonesetter's Daughter: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
““As compelling as Tan’s first bestseller, The Joy Luck Club. . . No one writes about mothers and daughters with more empathy than Amy Tan.”
–The Philadelphia Inquirer
“[An] absorbing tale of the mother-daughter bond . . . this book sing[s] with emotion and insight.”
Ruth Young and her widowed mother, LuLing, have always had a tumultuous relationship. Now, before she succumbs to forgetfulness, LuLing gives Ruth some of her writings, which reveal a side of LuLing that Ruth has never known. . . .
In a remote mountain village where ghosts and tradition rule, LuLing grows up in the care of her mute Precious Auntie as the family endures a curse laid upon a relative known as the bonesetter. When headstrong LuLing rejects the marriage proposal of the coffinmaker, a shocking series of events are set in motion–all of which lead back to Ruth and LuLing in modern San Francisco. The truth that Ruth learns from her mother’s past will forever change her perception of family, love, and forgiveness.
“A strong novel, filled with idiosyncratic, sympathetic characters; haunting images; historical complexity; significant contemporary themes; and suspenseful mystery.”
–Los Angeles Times
“For Tan, the true keeper of memory is language, and so the novel is layered with stories that have been written down–by mothers for their daughters, passing along secrets that cannot be said out loud but must not be forgotten.”
–The New York Times Book Review
“Tan at her best . . . rich and hauntingly forlorn . . . The writing is so exacting and unique in its detail.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
redefined as a form of innocence. That was how she signed her books, "Love Innocence, Agapi Agnos." Ruth enjoyed working with her. Though Agapi was a psychiatrist, she didn't come across as intimidating. She knew that much of her appeal was her Zsa Zsa Gabor shtick, her accent, the flirtatious yet intelligent personality she exuded when she answered questions in TV and radio interviews. During their phone meeting, Ruth reviewed the chapter that presented the Five Don'ts and Ten Do's of becoming
the same thing. Sundowning. The sun went down, she went wandering. We had to put alarm triggers on all the doors. That was one tough year, until we put her in a nursing home. My wife couldn't do it anymore—keeping an eye on her day and night." Day and night? And Ruth thought she was being diligent by having her mother over for dinner and trying to hire a part-time housekeeper. "Well, thanks anyway," she said. When she returned to her mother, LuLing complained right away: "Grocery store 'round
turpentine, and tung wood. Then we added a sweet poisonous flower that helped resist insects and rats. That was how special our ink was, all those lasting smells. We made the ink a little at a time. If a fire broke out, as it had a couple of hundred years before, all the supplies and stock would not be lost at once. And if a batch was too sticky or too wet, too soft or not black enough, it was easier to find out who was to blame. Each of us had at least one part in a long list of things to do.
were prettier than any of the girls in Immortal Heart. We passed walkways lined with peddlers selling every kind of bird, insect, and lizard on a stick, and they were ten times more expensive than the best snack we could buy in our own town. Farther on, I saw persimmons that were more golden, peanuts that were fatter, and sugar-coated haws that were a shinier red. I heard a crisp crack, saw the freshly opened gut of a more delicious-looking melon. And those who could not resist a slice looked
here," Father said to his customer, and I looked. He held up an inkstick and rotated it in the light. "See? It's the right hue, purple-black, not brown or gray like the cheap brands you might find down the street. And listen to this." And I heard a sound as clean and pure as a small silver bell. "The high-pitched tone tells you that the soot is very fine, as smooth as the sliding banks of old rivers. And the scent—can you smell the balance of strength and delicacy, the musical notes of the ink's