FIVE SUMMER STORIES : AMY TAN

"The story is a modern-day metaphor for seeking balance. The idea that some sense of equality can be achieved by tallying up differences is curious.

"The character doesn't examine what makes her feel out of balance. She never questions what's out of balance, but she's looking for artificial ways to attain balance. Her mother triggers her looking at things.

"I have always had this sense that my mom could see things--truths--that I could not. But this is not an autobiographical story. My husband says to let people know he's nothing like the character in the book."

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