Saving Fish from Drowning

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Saving Fish From Drowning
First edition
AuthorAmy Tan
CountryUnited States
PublisherG. P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Pages474 pp

Saving Fish From Drowning is a 2005 novel written by Amy Tan. It is Tan's sixth work. The book is about twelve American tourists who travel to China and Burma.[1][2]

The novel was awarded an honorable mention from the Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature.


Amy Tan says in her "Note to the Reader" that she drew inspiration for her work from a collection of "Automatic writing... messages from the unseen world." However, in an interview, she recants this explanation and claims that she actually made up the story of Bibi Chen, the protagonist whose story was supposedly passed along through automatic writing.[3]

Plot summary[edit]

The story concerns a group of American tourists travelling the Burma Road from China to Myanmar, and the comic confusions that occur when they are kidnapped by a group of Karen people who believe one of the American teenagers to be a prophesied savior; the Americans, for their part, are not even aware they are being kidnapped.[4]

The story is told through the omniscient first person narrative of Bibi Chen, the tour leader who unexpectedly dies before the trip takes place and who continues to watch over her friends as they journey towards their fate.

The novel explores the hidden strengths of the tourists, set in the uneasy political situation in Burma.


  1. ^ "Saving Fish from Drowning (interview)". Retrieved 2010-06-22.
  2. ^ "Saving Fish from Drowning (review)". Archived from the original on November 3, 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
  3. ^ "Interview with Amy Tan" Archived 2007-12-13 at the Wayback Machine on her website
  4. ^ Solomon, Andrew (16 October 2005). "'Saving Fish From Drowning': Bus of Fools". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 August 2014.