Friday, October 23, 2015

The Hundred Secret Senses - Amy Tan

A kingdom of termites has secretly been building their fortress in my house and we just found out a couple of months ago. The termites destroyed and ruined some of D's book collections *crying*. While it was sad to see years of book collection turned into dust, I found several books that I've bought but have yet to read. 

It seemed D moved them into his bookcase without my consent. It was a fortune that these books survived the attack. The books are in English and I bought them during the Gramedia sale. The Indonesian publishing company often held insider sale, where they sell original books that have been translated into Bahasa Indonesia. One of the books is "The Hundred Secret Senses" by Amy Tan. 

So I started to read this book. The layered time line (going back and forth in the history), the two points of view (Olivia and Kwan) and different language style (Kwan speaks in broken English) made me take some time to grasp what Tan wants to convey in this novel. But once I got it, I took off quickly. I put down this book with a good feeling.

Brief summary: Olivia Yee is only five years old when Kwan, her older sister from China, comes to live with her family and turns her life upside down, bombarding her days and nights with ghostly stories of strange ancestors from the World of Yin. For the next thirty years, Olivia endures visits from Kwan and her ghosts, who offer advice on everything, from restaurant to Olivia's failed marriage. Just when she cannot bear it anymore, the revelations of a family secret open her mind to the startling truths hidden in Kwan's unorthodox vision of the world.

Here are several quotes worth remembering:

"Life's always a big fucking compromise. You don't always get what you want, no matter how smart you are, how hard you work, how good you are. That's a myth. We're all hanging in the best we can."

"You can't stop young girls from wishing. No! Everyone must dream. We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming - well, that's like saying you can never change your fate. Isn't that true?"

"To you, this may sound clumsy, not so romantic. But if someone offers to save your life, isn't that as good as going to church in a white dress and saying 'I do'?"

No comments:

Post a Comment