The Joy Luck ClubBook - 2006
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. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. "To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable." Forty years later the stories and history continue.
With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.
From the critics
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"I seemed to hear less than what was said, while my mother heard more. "
"What was worse, we asked among ourselves, to sit and wait for our own deaths with proper somber faces? Or to choose our own happiness?"
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This is the story of four Chinese women and their daughters. The mothers suffered great losses in the war, both financial and personal. To bolster themselves and each other, they formed the "Joy Luck" club, in which they shared friendship and happiness that was theirs for at least just that moment. Eventually, they emigrated to San Francisco. Their daughters grew up as Americans, but their Chinese nature was permanently and inescapably in their blood and bones and souls. I very much enjoyed the way the Chinese viewpoint inserted itself into the most mundane situations, especially as the mothers tried to teach their daughters the difficult lessons of life.
Encompassing two generations and a rich blend of Chinese and American history, the story of four struggling, strong women also reveals their daughters' memories and feelings.
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