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The Joy Luck Club (1989)

by Amy Tan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16,615190265 (3.87)353
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. 40
    Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang (Jennie_103)
    Jennie_103: Another story of generations of chinese women.
  2. 30
    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. 10
    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.
  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. 12
    Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (sturlington)

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» See also 353 mentions

English (173)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (4)  Catalan (3)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (186)
Showing 1-5 of 173 (next | show all)
A book all daughters should read

While I feel I needed a cheatsheet on whose story went with whom, I loved that it went back and forth in time weaving the stories together. Reading it as a mother makes me appreciate the delicate relationships between mothers and daughters. ( )
  bookburner451 | Nov 19, 2022 |
This is a story of mothers and daughters, structured around the four women players of a regular game of mahjong. Each of four sections is split into four parts, one for each of the mahjong players, simulating the taking of turns during a game. It starts with the mother’s life in China and proceeds to the daughter’s life in the US.

One of the highlights is the portrayal of the Chinese culture and traditions, and the difficulty of passing them along to a younger generation, especially those immersed in American culture. I think the author does an excellent job of putting the reader into the heads of both generations. We see the older women through the lens of the younger, and vice-versa, so we understand their motivations and also see the disconnects between the generations.

The novel examines the changing roles of women, which becomes more pronounced when compared to the traditions of past generations of Chinese women deferring to men, sacrificing for the family, and suffering in silence. The game of mahjong is not discussed in any detail. I found it a delightful exploration of the value of family, memories, and identity.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Four daughters, four mothers, four parts, four chapters within the parts. It became very clear to me that the number four is special to Amy Tan and the Joy Luck Club. Not only is the number four impart to this book, but also the game of mahjong. I wonder if the plot and the structure of this book as anything to do with the game?

The plot of the book is simple. A group of Chinese-American mothers and daughters start a club called the Joy Luck Club where they eat and play mahjong while telling stories of the past. This is also were the story can get confusing for some. Tan sets the book as a frame story. Starting off with one of the daughters and ending with her as well. Yet in between we hear the stories for the other mother and daughters. This is all first person, so make sure you pay attention who is speaking at the beginning of the chapters.

I really liked the movie and that's why I decided to read the book. Thankfully Amy Tan actually had a say as to what happened in the movie, because it made this book easier for me to read. However, I didn't remember most of the movie, so some parts seemed new to me. The ending I do remember and that is still one of my favorite parts (being a twin myself).

Another thing I love about this book was how much about Chinese culture I learned or didn't even think about. I'm not Asian, but I like learning about the Asian culture, especially China for some reason. In the past I really only read stuff like Three Kingdoms and stuff from the long past. This was refreshing because it was a lot more honest then I thought too. It felt like the character were real at times too.

As much as I liked this book, giving this four stars because it was confusing at times trying to keep track of who's who. Most of the stories were great, but only a few were slow in my opinion too. I recommend this one to people though, if you don't mind tragic events mixed in with happy events. There is even a little comedy. The ending made me smile. ( )
  Ghost_Boy | Aug 25, 2022 |
  archivomorero | Jun 25, 2022 |
This was a beautiful story dedicated to the intricacies of the mother-daughter relationship. Although written specifically about mothers from China and their daughters born in America, the relationships, thoughts and mysteries translate to any culture. ( )
  MrsLee | Jun 20, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 173 (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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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: (3.87)
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