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The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

The Joy Luck Club (original 1989; edition 2006)

by Amy Tan

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12,356135202 (3.87)234
Title:The Joy Luck Club
Authors:Amy Tan
Info:Penguin Books (2006), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:china, historical fiction, united states

Work details

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (Author) (1989)

  1. 21
    Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang (Jennie_103)
    Jennie_103: Another story of generations of chinese women.
  2. 00
    Fifth Chinese Daughter by Jade Snow Wong (Imprinted)
  3. 00
    Sweet Mandarin: The Courageous True Story of Three Generations of Chinese Women and Their Journey from East to West by Helen Tse (elbakerone)
  4. 00
    Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat (Othemts)
    Othemts: In a superficial way this book reminds me of the stories of Amy Tan in that they show the strains of relationships between mothers and daughters, immigrants and American-born.

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» See also 234 mentions

English (125)  Dutch (4)  Catalan (3)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (134)
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
I wasn't crazy about this story. The daughters seemed whiney and the mothers harsh, though I sympathized with the mothers more. Just okay. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
I wasn't crazy about this story. The daughters seemed whiney and the mothers harsh, though I sympathized with the mothers more. Just okay. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
I wasn't crazy about this story. The daughters seemed whiney and the mothers harsh, though I sympathized with the mothers more. Just okay. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
What an amazing, and heartbreaking story. I remember seeing Ms Tan give a reading at the old Martin Luther King Library in downtown San Jose. It was interesting when she discussed how her life influenced her story telling. Classic themes of mother/daughter relationships, sacrifices, secrets. They made a pretty good movie out of it, too. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan’s 1989 debut novel, got such a good critical reception that it firmly established her literary reputation. Tan has now written six additional novels, one novella, one work of nonfiction, and some children’s books, but none has received the level of acclaim earned by The Joy Luck Club.

The novel centers itself on the mahjong club started by four Chinese women who came to the United States after fleeing the Japanese invasion of their homeland during World War II. After becoming friends as part of San Francisco’s Chinese community, the women started the club as a way to socialize and enjoy each other’s cooking. (Their husbands come for the food.) By the beginning of the novel, however, one of the women has died and been replaced in the club by her American daughter.

Tan structured the novel into four sections of four interlocking stories each in which she explores the relationships between the elderly women and their daughters. The stories emphasize how little the daughters know (or care) about their mothers’ pasts and how manipulative and competitive their mothers are. These are stories about mothers who often hurt their daughters and, in turn, about daughters who even more often hurt their mothers. But in the end, it is a story of what happens when mothers and daughters finally learn to forgive each other – as difficult a chore as that usually is.

The first section, “Feathers from a Thousand Miles Away,” is introduced by Jing-Mei, whose deceased mother is credited with the founding of the Joy Luck Club. Jing-Mei’s introduction is followed by three stories in which each of the surviving elders tells a story about her childhood in China. Section two, “Twenty-Six Malignant Gates,” in turn, allows each of the American daughters to recall a key incident or influence from her own childhood in San Francisco.

It is in the book’s third section, “American Translation,” that the reader learns just how difficult it has been for each of the older women to raise a daughter in the U.S. It becomes apparent from the stories told in this section by the daughters that their mothers’ efforts to turn them into highly successful, competitive women have not been entirely successful. The younger women, having now survived all the trials of first generation Americans, still resent the degree of intrusion into their lives that their mothers insist upon.

Finally, in the fourth section of the book, “Queen Mother of the Western Skies,” the mothers recall stories of their own young adulthood, that period during which they were most active in trying to form the personalities of their daughters. With this section, the influences upon both generations of women are exposed for what they are, and the circle is closed. Now it is up to them to find ways to forgive, understand, and love each other. ( )
  SamSattler | May 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
In Tan's hands, these linked stories - diverse as they are - fit almost magically into a powerfully coherent novel, whose winning combination of ingredients - immigrant experience, mother-daughter ties, Pacific Rim culture - make it a book with the ``good luck'' to be in the right place at the right time.
In the hands of a less talented writer such thematic material might easily have become overly didactic, and the characters might have seemed like cutouts from a Chinese-American knockoff of ''Roots.'' But in the hands of Amy Tan, who has a wonderful eye for what is telling, a fine ear for dialogue, a deep empathy for her subject matter and a guilelessly straightforward way of writing, they sing with a rare fidelity and beauty. She has written a jewel of a book.

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tan, AmyAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holt, Heleen tenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mother and the memory of her mother. You asked me once what I would remember. This, and much more.
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The old woman remembered a swan she had bought many years ago in Shanghai for a foolish sum.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143038095, Paperback)

Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who's "saying" the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. "To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable." Forty years later the stories and history continue.

With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:48 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In 1949, four Chinese women--drawn together by the shadow of their past--begin meeting in San Francisco to play mah jong, invest in stocks and "say" stories. They call their gathering the Joy Luck Club--and forge a relationship that binds them for more than three decades.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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