Saturday, April 3, 2010 By: Suzanne

Saving Fish from Drowning: Audio

I am writing once more about the books I've been reading! I have been pretty bad about keeping up with my blog lately. However, I have been reading and I've listened to many audio books on my way to and from work. One of those I picked up was Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan. It's read by the author.

First I have to say, I'm not sure I like that. Every time I've listened to a book read by the author, I've been less than impressed. You would think the author knows how to interpret their characters better than anyone, but if that were true then they wouldn't be authors, they'd be actors. Often the author's reading is much more flat and told in one voice even when from different points of view. I've found this of authors who are good at writing from different character's view points and from those that aren't. Often actors will give each character a slightly different voice. They sometimes change it with inflection, sometimes with accent, and sometimes with pitch. When an author reads his own work, this is lost because they are often not good at that. Tan is no exception.

I also realized very quickly while listening to this book that I had read this before. It was years ago and long ago enough for me to forget most of the plot but close enough that it all sounded like deja vu as I listened.

It's a very well written book, told about 12 Americans who take a trip to the Himalayan foothills of China and cross the border into Burma. This is supposed to be a historic trip, as no foreigner as made the crossing where they will since Burma became Myanmar. Each and every step of the trip is planned well before their crossing but from the beginning things go wrong. First, their tour leader is mysteriously killed just days before they are to leave. The group decides they should go anyway and enlist the help of another tour leader, one who is not a take charge kind of person, leaving the group rudder-less in dangerous lands.

I enjoyed this book very much and thought Tan's writing, if not reading, was beautifully done. There is just the right mix of non-likeable, annoying characters to go with the ones who think they can make it alright to make this an often hilarious tale even when they are in the most danger.