Joint Manipulation

#18: China / USA

The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan caught my eye on a library shelf when I was living on the outskirts of London. I had been looking for a literary form of escapism and this seemed like an ideal book. Set in a country and culture in which I didn’t have much familiarity.

It is partially set in the USA in San Francisco and the main characters discover secrets about their family from many years earlier. I enjoy these kind of books, where there’s a complex family problem and they learn more about their relatives at the same time as learning more about themselves. It was an interesting to read about the ways in which family expectations in a tightly-knit Chinese family continued to influence future generations of the family living abroad.

I also rather enjoyed the title, because I hadn’t come across the word bonesetter before. In traditional Chinese medicine a bonesetter was a person that performed joint manipulation. They could also have treated dislocations as well as actually re-setting a broken bone so that it heals in a better alignment. I like the idea of it being the original form of physiotherapy or osteopathy.