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. For Kwan speaks mangled English, is cheerfully deaf to Olivia's sarcasm, and sees the dead with her "yin eyes."Even as Olivia details the particulars of her decades-long grudge against her sister (who, among other things, is a source of infuriatingly good advice), Kwan Li is telling her own story, one that sweeps us into the splendor, squalor, and violence of Manchu China.
I read this for a reading group, and while almost everyone else in the group gave up on it or hated it, I really liked it. I thought it was very slow at the beginning. In fact, I almost gave up myself, and would have if I hadn't been reading it for a reading group, but I pressed on. At around the 80 page mark, I really started to enjoy it. I was very interested to see where the story would go, even if it was still a bit slow.
This was my second book by Amy Tan, and I've liked both I've read by her.