Her newest novel, "Saving Fish From Drowning," half spoof and half fairy tale, is narrated by Bibi Chen, a San Francisco socialite and art dealer who was supposed to lead a group of high-powered friends on a trip down the Burma Road, starting in Lijiang in China and continuing across the border into Myanmar, appreciating cultural sites and natural beauty along the way. Bibi Chen has died under mysterious circumstances, but the group goes off on the trip anyway, and Bibi goes along as a spirit, invisible to the travelers, only sporadically able to influence what is going on, but very much involved with - and frequently rather annoyed by - her friends and their choices. A quirky narrator, alternately omniscient and helpless, she is enthusiastic, colorful and spirited, but also self-important, snobbish and didactic.
The reviewer likes Ms. Tan's evocative gift with narrative and history, but feels that Ms. Tan's gifts lie more these facets of writing, and less with humor and irony, which feature strongly in the novel. Still, the premise is interesting and the book will doubtless be in heavy demand.
I've always enjoyed being drawn into the Chinese-American world of Ms. Tan, which is very far from my own frame of reference. This book will be on my must-read list.
This article in the Times also includes an overview of Ms. Tan's writing career, with reprints of reviews of her other novels, a reprint of an early interview with Ms. Tan, and even an article on the cinematic version of The Joy Luck Club.
Accessing New York Times artcles requires the setting up of an account, which is free and well worth it, IMHO.