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Summary

Winnie and Helen have kept each other's worst secrets for more than 50 years. Now, because she believes she is dying, Helen wants to expose all that has been concealed, when she decides to celebrate the Chinese New Year by unburdening herself of everybody's hidden truths - her own and Winnie's, as well as the dreadful news that Winnie's daughter, Pearl, has been keeping from her mother.

So begins a series of comic misunderstandings and heartbreaking realizations about luck, loss, and trust, about the things a mother cannot tell a daughter, the secrets a daughter keeps, and the miraculous resiliency of love.

©1991 Amy Tan (P)2008, 2016 Phoenix Books

Critic reviews

"Remarkable...mesmerizing...compelling.... An entire world unfolds in a Tolstoyan tide of event and detail." ( New York Times)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Morticia Addams
  • 29-10-16

Narration unintentionally funny

The story is great and I always enjoy it. The narration is generally quite good. Some of the characters have a distinct California accent. In 1930's China : D. Also, Aunt Du speaks in a way that sounds -just- like monks doing Gregorian chants. Made me smile every time I heard it!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jenny Alonzo
  • 13-06-17

ending gets me every time...

this is a great story and I get tears in my eyes everytime I reach the end.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • GrandmaNurseHeather
  • 08-06-17

Holds your attention through out

A great story. Riveting. Narrator does well except for "Peanut" in her "Valley Girl" style voice and the other snobbish characters, and the elderly aunt in the sing song style voice. Those voices were annoying and distracting.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • FinnessaWilliams
  • 03-06-17

I read this years ago

I read this years ago and listened to this on my commute. I loved it and can't wait to listen to this again. well done.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jo A Beck
  • 15-03-17

Fabulous story, questionable narration

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I love Amy Tang's wonderful books, and while we all create characters "voices" in our heads, I have learned to give audio book narrators a chance to inhabit the characters. Sadly, this was not possible with Gwendoline Yeo's strange reading. A pivotal character, Auntie Du, was described as having a "sing-song" voice. The narrator chose to do a strange atonal reading that was so annoying and distracting that it rendered important plot points unintelligible. It was aptly described by another reviewer as "Gregorian chants". The modern drawling California "Valley" accents felt jarring and out of place for young Chinese women in the 1930s.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Crowd of Nevadans
  • 02-03-17

Narrator valley girl???

During part of the story the narrator turned a 1920s young Chinese girl into a valley girl, I found it very lame

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alice
  • 26-08-16

Brilliant.

Such a breathtaking tale of a strong, incredible woman. Gwendoline Yeo brings the story to life by using unique voices and accents for each character. Brilliant story and audio performance! Definitely will read this again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lu
  • 21-10-17

amazing

I loved this book the first time I read it and now once again listening to the beautiful word come to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Enigma
  • 21-08-17

my favorite author

great reader, a wonderful story. just reminds me of why I love Amy tan. highly recommend

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • cool girl
  • 18-08-17

modern-day classic

this has to be my favorite stories of all time. Amy Tan is an absolute artist with words. I will never get tired of listening to the story over and. I have even read in probably hundreds of times

1 of 1 people found this review helpful