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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
In her bestselling novels of the Chinese-American experience, Amy Tan has examined the vagaries of luck, a two-sided coin that spins from superstition to serendipity and from choice to destiny in the blink of an eye. Now, in The Opposite of Fate, a dazzling kaleidoscope of short nonfiction pieces, she ponders the role of luck in her own charmed life.
Presented thematically, these entertaining meditations delve into a wealth of experience, with Tan's beautiful, diminutive mother holding center stage in several pieces. Here we come to meet a tragicomic figure who elevated pessimism to an art form, communed with ancestral spirits through a Oujia board (and occasionally the computer!), and wholeheartedly believed her unhappy life was cursed. (In many ways, it was.) In other pieces, Tan recalls a murdered friend who appeared to her in puzzling dreams that provided uncanny clues to the future; describes the deliciously liberating experience of jamming with Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, and other publishing titans in a band called the Rock Bottom Remainders; recounts her adventures in Hollywood filming The Joy Luck Club; and corrects several Internet bios that have erroneously endowed her with a doctorate, multiple husbands, nonexistent children, and a Pulitzer Prize!
As witty as Tan herself, this delightful "book of musings" explores the yin and yang of a literary life blessed with happy accidents and destined (perhaps?) for even greater success. Anne Markowski