“The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan (United States)
For a couple of readers it was the second time they had read this book and they remembered liking it more the first time around. Everyone agreed that it was an enjoyable read but they said that the alternating stories from the eight protagonists caused them confusion: they had difficulty remembering who was who as they moved through the stories. They would have preferred just one or two more fleshed out characters instead of snippets of too many characters’ lives. They felt that the book would have worked better as 16 short stories than as a novel. Readers found the passages set in China fascinating with many heart-wrenching scenes and they said that the historical elements added to their enjoyment. Some readers liked the parts set in the U.S. less, though they could relate to the generational and cultural tensions between the daughters and their mothers. Readers loved the last story and were only sorry that it didn’t continue on for longer so they could find out what happened to the three sisters. Overall, it averaged a 7.3 out of 10.
Published in 1989, this first novel quickly became a bestseller and was subsequently made into a critically acclaimed film.
In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, meet weekly to play mahjong and tell stories of what they left behind in China. United in loss and new hope for their daughters’ futures, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Their daughters, who have never heard these stories, think… Read more
Nicola’s Book Club reading list
Season 20 (Oct 2016 – Feb 2017)
“Life Begins on Friday” by Ioana Pârvulescu (Romania)
“In the Beginning Was the Sea” by Tomás González (Colombia)
“Island of a Thousand Mirrors” by Nayomi Munaweera (Sri Lanka) *
“By Night the Mountain Burns” by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel (Equatorial Guinea)
“The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan (U.S.)
“The Yacoubian Building” by Alaa Al Aswany (Egypt)
* The book club favourite
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur