Book Review - The Hundred Secret Senses

I received a review copy of the Penguin paperback THE HUNDRED SECRET SENSES by Amy Tan. 

From the Publisher:

The Hundred Secret Senses: A NovelWith her characteristic wisdom, grace, and humor, Tan has constructed a bestselling tale of two sisters spanning centuries and continents. 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, who speaks mangled English, is cheerfully deaf to Olivia’s sarcasm, and sees the dead with her “yin eyes.”

THE HUNDRED SECRET SENSES, a finalist for the Orange Prize for fiction, is an exultant novel about China and America, love and loyalty, the identities we invent and the true selves we discover along the way.

My review:

I am always intrigued when a book showcases a clash of cultures and ideologies - and when it happens within a family, the dynamic is usually something that I can get into... 

The Hundred Secret Senses is just such a novel.  Amy Tan is able to draw you into the story by first relying heavily on Olivia's interpretation of the world and her view of her sister, but allows you to view glimpses and than larger pieces of the puzzle that is Kwan Li.  I love too, how Ms. Tan shifts the book from Olivia's familiar surroundings to Kwan Li's by taking them on a journey to China.

This is a book you can read more than once - every time you do, you will pick up on a new nuance and clue that will help you better understand the worlds of Olivia and Kwan Li and how their relationship grows and changes as they learn more about each other and their worlds.

This book has more twists and turns than The Joy Luck Club or The Kitchen God's Wife and takes some patience to get into at first, but I think if you're like me, you will fall in love with the book as it nears the completion.  I highly recommend checking it out if you like a good family relationship story that develops from some unusual places.