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The Joy Luck Club (1989)

by Amy Tan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
15,795176258 (3.88)336
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.
  1. 30
    Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang (Jennie_103)
    Jennie_103: Another story of generations of chinese women.
  2. 10
    The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy (laytonwoman3rd)
    laytonwoman3rd: This novel explores similar themes of the generation gap in immigrant Chinese families---the "old ways" in conflict with the new world.
  3. 11
    Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (sturlington)
  4. 00
    Fifth Chinese Daughter by Jade Snow Wong (Imprinted)
  5. 00
    Sweet Mandarin: The Courageous True Story of Three Generations of Chinese Women and Their Journey from East to West by Helen Tse (elbakerone)
  6. 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 336 mentions

English (163)  Dutch (4)  Catalan (3)  Spanish (3)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (175)
Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
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.
  BLTSbraille | Sep 4, 2021 |
Absolutely Beautiful! I was struck by this paragraph close to the end:

"And now at the airport, after shaking hands with everybody, waving good-bye, I think about all the different ways we leave people in this world. Cheerily waving good-bye to some at airports, knowing we'll never see each other again. Leaving others on the side of the road, hoping that we will. Finding my mother in my father's story and saying good-bye before I have a chance to know her better." (page 286) ( )
  knittinkitties | Aug 23, 2021 |
The Joy Luck Club

I Picked Up This Book Because: Random library pick..

Media Type: Audiobook
Source: CCP Library
Dates Read: 7/31/21 - 7/31/21
Stars: 4 Stars

The Story:

I also picked this up because I enjoyed the movie very much but in my past experience movies and books tend to differ. This actually stayed pretty close to what I remember the movie being. I was surprised at how quickly the stories moved along. I never pay attention to the number of hours before starting a book but this related so much in a scant 3 hours. These are tales of family, love, hardship, starting over, relating anew they were all pretty darn good.

The Random Thoughts:


A to Z Reading Challenge 2021 - J ( )
  bookjunkie57 | Aug 18, 2021 |
2021 re-read: The way this book is set up, it feels more like a series of vignettes than a complete novel. And honestly, I think I like it better that way: as a series of novellas or novelettes. Some of them I like a lot better than others, but there's only minimal connection between most of the vignettes. In general, I like the stories told by the mothers better. They are more lyrical, more fantastical.

The book as a whole didn't have as big an impact on me this time. It could easily be because I've now read many other works by a much more varied set of authors than I had when I read this for the first time. It could be my stage in life, or the fact that I was reading alone this time instead of having a school group to study the book with like I did the first time. It was still worth the re-read, though, and I plan to read more of Tan's works in the future. Historical/literary fiction isn't normally my cup of tea, so I didn't expect to love this as much as I would have if it was a fantasy. But it was still enjoyable, and I'm glad I picked it up.

Two quick content notes with minor spoilers:
1) there is a reference in the second half of the book to a gay man, and some ugly comments are made. This book was written in the late 80's, during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in the US. This doesn't make the comments right, but it does provide context about why they are there.

2) There is a child death and a miscarriage/abortion in this book. One of the characters tells a story that includes her toddler brother drowning. Another tells of losing an unborn baby, but because of how it's told I can't say for sure if it was miscarriage or abortion. Neither story is particularly graphic, but it could be hard to read for those who have triggers of this nature. ( )
  ca.bookwyrm | May 27, 2021 |
Superb writing, complex characters and relationships that focus on mothers and daughters in a Chinese-American context. The stories and lives of the main characters are woven together, each told from their perspective. A deep exploration of the un-knowable nature of life stories, even in the most intimate family relationships. Focus on immigrant/emigrant and first-generation experiences. ( )
  TAPearson | May 2, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 163 (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 (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tan, Amyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holt, Heleen tenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lohmann, SabineTranslatorsecondary 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please don't combine with commentaries or educational adaptations
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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Average: (3.88)
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