Customer Review

3.0 out of 5 stars I found the style frustrating -others may not, 4 May 2013
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This review is from: The Joy Luck Club (Paperback)
On the surface this is the story of four mothers and their daughters in San Francisco but it is really a tale of twentieth century China and its legacy in the lives and culture of those who have left. The mothers' lives in China and the effect they have on their daughters infuses the whole tale so that although some of it is set in America the book is really about the Chinese cultural influence on women's lives.

The book is told in a series of chapters which offer glimpses into lives at a certain point. They are not really short stories as they don't all conclude or even contain a whole story - I think of them as glimpses into lives, as though we see just part of a whole which gives us the flavour of something greater. For this reason we don't always know what came before what we are told or even how it concluded but we then move on into another glimpse of another life. All the pieces should add together to give us an impression of China and its legacy to its emigrants.

In truth, I found the book frustrating. I like my narratives to have a beginning, a middle and an end and I would have liked to read a full novel about any of these short pieces. Bringing them together as a whole gave me an impression as the author intended but I would have been happier with more conventional storytelling. This is very much about a preference for a particular style of writing rather than me thinking that there was something wrong or bad about the way in which the book was written. In fact, it is a credit to the writer that the little she had to say about each episode was so engaging that I wanted the full story.

This book is written in a lyrical, flowing style. It offers an insight into the experience of the immigrant community in America and its effect on the next generation. It offered opportunities to see different relationships between women and their daughters. I think that it would make a thought provoking book club choice. I, however, prefer a less impressionistic and more straightforward narrative.
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Review Details

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4.3 out of 5 stars (29 customer reviews)
5 star:
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4 star:
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3 star:
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8.99 6.29
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Reviewer

Anne
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: Sheffield, Yorkshire

Top Reviewer Ranking: 250