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The Joy Luck Club
1989
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Awards
1989 - National Book Award for Fiction nominee
1989 - Los Angeles Times Book Prize nominee
Genre
Domestic
Sociological
Fiction
Classic
Topics
Mothers and daughters
Immigrants
American Dream
Chinese American women
Setting
China - Asia
San Francisco, California - West (U.S.)
California - West (U.S.)
Time Period
1980s -- 20th century
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

What a wonderful book! The ``joy luck club'' is a mah jong/storytelling support group formed by four Chinese women in San Francisco in 1949. Years later, when member Suyuan Woo dies, her daughter June (Jing-mei) is asked to take her place at the mah jong table. With chapters alternating between the mothers and the daughters of the group, we hear stories of the old times and the new; as parents struggle to adjust to America, their American children must struggle with the confusion of having immigrant parents. Reminiscent of Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior in its vivid depiction of Chinese-American women, this novel is full of complicated, endearingly human characters and first-rate story telling in the oral tradition. It should be a hit in any fiction collection.-- Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Intensely poetic, startlingly imaginative and moving, this remarkable book will speak to many women, mothers and grown daughters, about the persistent tensions and powerful bonds between generations and cultures. The narrative voice moves among seven characters. Jing-mei ``June'' Woo recounts her first session in a San Francisco mah-jong club founded by her recently dead, spiritually vital, mother. The three remaining club members and their daughters alternate with stories of their lives, tales that are stunning, funny and heartbreaking. The mothers, all born in China, tell about grueling hardship and misery, the tyranny of family pride and the fear of losing face. The daughters try to reconcile their personalities, shaped by American standards, with seemingly irrational maternal expectations. ``My mother and I never understood each other; we translated each other's meanings. I talked to her in English, she answered back in Chinese,'' says one character. A crippling generation gap is the result: the mothers, superstitious, full of dread, always fearing bad luck, raise their daughters with hope that their lives will be better, but they also mourn the loss of a heritage their daughters cannot comprehend. Deceptively simple, yet inherently dramatic, each chapter can stand alone; yet personalities unfold and details build to deepen the impact and meaning of the whole. Thus, when infants abandoned in China in the first chapter turn up as adults in the last, their reunion with the one remaining family member is a poignant reminder of what is possible and what is not. On the order of Maxine Hong Kingston's work, but more accessible, its Oriental orientation an irresistible magnet, Tan's first novel is a major achievement. First serial to Atlantic, Ladies' Home Journal and San Francisco Focus; BOMC and QPBC featured alternates. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Summary
Master storyteller Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters in this New York Times bestseller.<br> <br> " The Joy Luck Club is one of my favorite books. From the moment I first started reading it, I knew it was going to be incredible. For me, it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime reading experiences that you cherish forever. It inspired me as a writer and still remains hugely inspirational."--Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians <br> <br> 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, eat dim sum, and "say" stories. They call their gathering the Joy Luck Club.<br> <br> Nearly forty years later, one of the members has died, and her daughter has come to take her place, only to learn of her mother's lifelong wish--and the tragic way in which it has come true. The revelation of this secret unleashes an urgent need among the women to reach back and remember...
Table of Contents
Feathers from a Thousand Li Away
The Joy Luck Club    Jing-Mei Woop. 19
Scar    An-Mei Hsup. 42
The Red Candle    Lindo Jongp. 49
The Moon Lady    Ying-Ying St. Clairp. 67
The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates
Rules of the Game    Waverly Jongp. 89
The Voice from the Wall    Lena St. Clairp. 102
Half and Half    Rose Hsu Jordanp. 116
Two Kinds    Jing-Mei Woop. 132
American Translation
Rice Husband    Lena St. Clairp. 149
Four Directions    Waverly Jongp. 166
Without Wood    Rose Hsu Jordanp. 185
Best Quality    Jing-Mei Woop. 197
Queen Mother of the Western Skies
Magpies    An-Mei Hsup. 215
Waiting Between the Trees    Ying-Ying St. Clairp. 242
Double Face    Lindo Jongp. 253
A Pair of Tickets    Jing-Mei Woop. 267
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