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The Joy Luck Club [Paperback]

Amy Tan
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 14 Feb 1994 --  
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Book Description

14 Feb 1994
The Joy Luck Club was formed of four Chinese women recently moved to San Francisco who meet to eat dim sum, play mah-jong and to share stories. Forty years on they and their daughters tell wise and witty tales of hope, loss, family and history. Spanning pre-Revolutionary China to 1980s San Francisco, the women talk as secrets are spilled, mothers boast and despair and daughters struggle with tangled truths.

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The Joy Luck Club + The Hundred Secret Senses + The Bonesetter's Daughter
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minerva; New edition edition (14 Feb 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749336021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749336028
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,232,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in the US to immigrant Chinese parents, Amy Tan is an internationally celebrated writer. Her novels are The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter, and Saving Fish from Drowning, all New York Times bestsellers. She is also the author of a memoir, The Opposite of Fate, and two children's books. Her work has been translated into 35 languages.

Product Description


"Pure enchantment" (Mail on Sunday)

"Honest, moving and beautifully courageous" (Alice Walker)

"In this deft and original debut, Amy Tan shows that she is both a consummate storyteller and writer whose prose manages to be emotionally charged without a trace of sentimentality" (Sunday Times)

"A brilliant first novel... Tan writes from the heart, cutting sharp edges with wit, wisdom and a gentle and delicate precision... The novel covers a remarkable spectrum and reveals the private secrets and ghosts that haunt, torment - and comfort. Completely compelling" (Time Out)

"That rare, mesmerizing novel that one always seeks but seldom finds...a pure joy to read" (Chicago Tribune) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Amy Tan's bestselling classic novel of mothers and daughters. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 14 Feb 2003
The Joy Luck Club follows the lives of a group of Chinese women and daughters living in modern day San Francisco. Not unlike "How to Make an American Quilt" (not sure which came first) the book examines the difficult maternal relationships using flashbacks to various parts of the mother's lives. It is only once you know someone's history that you can understand why a person behaves the way they do.
I love this book. Reading it was one of those rare joys that made me forget who and where I was as I read it. I even managed to read throughout the entire night before noticing that the sun had come up. I had forgotten to go to bed! Beautifully drawn characters, elaborate but not complicated plots, and hauntingly evocative of descriptions of life for women in early 20th century China. The Chinese aspect of the story dominates but women from all cultures will recognise the universal relationships between mothers and daughters. It has even given me a new appreciate for Chinese food! Don't wait for a rainy day - read it now. Sisterhood is global.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I have just finished this book, after reading it in one day. The story unfolds through the narrative tales of eight women; four Chinese women who left China for America, and their daughters, who struggle to come to terms with their Chinese American identity. The book is beautifully written, and the personalities of all eight women come through very strongly. The tales of the mothers' lives in China are sensitively combined with the perceptions of the daughters, making the book a moving and beautiful one. I do not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone, but if you enjoyed 'Wild Swans' I think you would especially enjoy this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Amy Tan continues to enchant her readers with wondrous but tragic tales of life, loves and disappointments. Having read two of her other works her style is familiar and her ability to tell a story placing layer upon layer of conflicting and often confusing emotions together yet do it with such deft ease and understanding is so enjoyable. There is so much of family relationships of high expectations and perhaps too easy resulting disappointments or at least the character's perception of them. Perhaps though she should try to write something a bit less cynical, less steeped in sorrow and hardship and something with more hope for the future rather than the all too familiar bitter-sweet ending. It does lay life bare in many ways though the hardships gone through in the past (mother's generation) may only have been typical of a certain time and place and the hardships of the present are really mostly of the daughter's own making i.e. they seem not to look for great love merelt something convenient and then end up discarding their modern marriages as easily as they came by them. It does, though, show the value of a strong set of beliefs and traditions by which to live as, although they may seem outdated to the modern generation as in the stories of the daughters who felt more settled with modern (cynical and mistrusting) America than with ancient Chinese customs, the value of believing in something becomes more and more apparent as the younger generation is seen to be part of the throwaway society assigning little value or effort to making things count which is strongly contrasted to the older generation of Chinese born mothers who know what they believe and try to teach their daughters the importance of faith and hope before it is too late. Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The need to belong and the desire to escape 5 Feb 2003
Focussing on a female dominated mother-daughter generation gap and a Chinese-American culture difference Tan mixes social and personality differences to create a broad and encompassing novel about change. TJLC shows, in its older generation, the huge amounts of reliance displaced individuals have on bonding with other alienated people and the human struggle surmounted to achieve happiness. The daughters in TJLC portray the difficulties sometimes endured being Chinese-American and seeming to be an outsider of each culture. So through these two different aspects of the novel Tan incorporates a “traditional” Chinese story at times in the vein of a less political Wild Swans and the cultural disparity of the modern world adds weight to the “emigrant” literature already established from writers such as Frank McCourt (Irish immigration to the USA) and Caryl Phillips (West Indian immigration to Britain).
Sometimes the tone of TJLC can be overly sentimental and meandering but in all Tan creates a moving tale of displacement, the need to belong and solidarity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good thought provoking read 18 Sep 1999
Never having read a book about Chinese culture or family and having picked the book at random I was entranced and informed. The story is of the relationships between four Chinese women,now living in San Francisco, and their mothers and daughters. A great first novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Stories 1 Jan 2010
First, I think one needs to be aware that the book tells the story of three sets of mothers and daughters as individual accounts in first person. Each individual chapter was more or less presented as a stand-alone story. I could not integrate the stories and make them into a whole. I found it hard to connect mother and daughter pairs, and that frustrated me a little.

Having said this, each individual chapter/story is wonderful in its insights into inter-generational tension that is based not only on culture but also on the age-old issues between mothers and daughters. Each woman experiences great struggles and life changes, and it is easy to either identify directly with them or to be fascinated by their exotic circumstances. In addition, it paints a lively picture of Chinese American life in particular. If you have had any contact with it, particularly in San Francisco, you will take from this book a much deeper understanding of Chinese Americans' experience, and it may just explain some things you always wondered about. Read this book as a loosely connected set of short stories, and you will enjoy it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 22 days ago by stellao
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read
Published 1 month ago by Ros
3.0 out of 5 stars Average
Having enjoyed other books by Amy Tan this one was slightly disappointing - there was too much about life in America, too little on the more exotic oriental side of things - it's... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Marquis of Pembroke
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
can give a misleading opinion of Chinese society
Published 1 month ago by Ros Coles
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I read this some time ago and really enjoyed it. I have recommended it to my book club.
Published 3 months ago by T. Rogers
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Lidia Rawicz
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but a little hard to follow
I really enjoyed this, but I did find at time's getting confused as to the mothers and daughters. A really enjoyable read, though.
Published 4 months ago by Lucy Jean Macdonald
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish it
I'm afraid after 100 pages I gave up with it. Other books on my reading pile were beckoning after about 50 pages. Not enough to hold my interest. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jazzguy
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth!
I originally read this book on publication, cried and gave it to my mother, who is Chinese. She cried too. Read more
Published 8 months ago by A Ryder
4.0 out of 5 stars The Joy Luck Club
I thought the characters in this book were drawn beautifully. I feel I have a better understanding of Chinese culture now. Very moving in places.
Published 8 months ago by Ros CY
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