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Publisher's Summary

Four Chinese women, drawn together by the shadow of their past, meet in San Francisco to play mah jong, invest in stocks, eat dim sum, and to "say" stories to each other. Nearly 40 years later, one of the women has died, and her daughter arrives to take her place. However, the daughter never expected to learn of her mother's secret lifelong wish - and the tragic way in which it has come true. The revelation creates among the women an urgent need to remember the past. What is lost between generations and among friends - and what is salvaged - resonates throughout this novel of friendship among women and the relations between mothers and daughters.

Jacket Illustration ©1989 Gretchen Shields; Copyright ©1989

Critic Reviews

"Amy Tan effortlessly mixes tenderness and bitter irony, sorrow and slicing wit. The Joy Luck Club is a fabulous concoction." (Louise Erdrich)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    756
  • 4 Stars
    309
  • 3 Stars
    124
  • 2 Stars
    39
  • 1 Stars
    20

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    685
  • 4 Stars
    222
  • 3 Stars
    113
  • 2 Stars
    31
  • 1 Stars
    16

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    663
  • 4 Stars
    249
  • 3 Stars
    117
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    13
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

nice read

i was recommended to read this by my Chinese girlfriend who shared that while it could be an exaggerated set of stories from one perspective, it was enriching nevertheless. i agree.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Joy Luck - abridged

This is a fabulous story - extremely well written but should not be abridged. I would have given it five stars had I listened to the entire book. It needed the extra flesh.

45 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

The Story was OK, but the Narrator was terrible.

The Narrator was awful. Some of her voices sounded like 'Yoda' from "Star Wars"... To me it ruined the story. This is one of the few times that I really liked the movie more than the book.

17 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed the book

I have read and enjoyed all of Amy Tan's novels. Since this is an early one, it isn't always easy to keep track of individual characters. The story and the emotion are well worth reading.
On the other hand, I did not care for the narrator. I liked the voice of the main character, but some of the others were very abrasive-- maybe how an American voice sounds to an Asian. Also, several words were mispronounced. An example: lapel rhymed with label. I fault the producer/editor for missing those words.
Overall, I recommend this book.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful!

I loved the book and the audio was good as well. This was my first book on tape, so I have to say I'm not 100% used to heading someone else's voice while listening to a story but generally she did a good job. She pronounced Chinese words (which I could never have done) and had at times a believable Chinese accent that wasn't too much to take away from the story, but she changed her voice to pretend to have a mans voice and this was very strange. That's why I knocked off a star because her "man's voice" was very distracting and unnecessary. But over all it was good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

Just brilliant. Great accents, fascinating plot strands woven together! I loved it and couldn't stop listening to it, going in for a second round!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I love the individual perceptions of the character

I loved the story it was a very fun read and I strongly recommend it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Amazing Performance by Gwendoline Yeo

Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club is a touching display of family, hope, and love that looks at the transition from being an immigrant to being a native (and back again). It looks at four families and their ties to each other and their Chinese heritage.

Parts of this book really clicked with me. The story, while connected, is presented more as vignettes and some were really strong while others were a little forgettable. For example, I spent the entire book waiting for Jing-Mei's resolution with her sisters, but did not care much for Rose Hsu's storyline. It's a give-and-take kind of thing, where luckily there is more to praise than to criticize.

Gwendoline Yeo's performance was fantastic. She embodied each character with a unique voice, so even though we are bouncing between over a dozen characters, I was never questioning who was speaking. This is not only impressive, but helpful to the listener, because the story could become very confusing without that attention to detail.

I highly recommend The Joy Luck Club. It's a beautiful and touching book that gives insight into the Chinese and Chinese American identity while also showing us how universal the themes of family and belonging really are.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful stories

The stories of these mothers and daughters are very intriguing and offer narratives of Chinese immigrants and their first generation Chinese American children. I really enjoyed the story but at times the narrator would use a yelling voice for a character and that was a bit difficult to listen to.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

From Chinese Mothers to American Daughters

Amy Tan's popular "The Joy Luck Club" is a treatise of the Chinese American mother-daughter experience that is still applicable today. This novel's debut was so poignant because there wasn't anything else like it on the market. She wrote of her own experiences, so this work was relatable to what everyone of her generation was going through. But there are still plenty of Chinese born immigrants and first generation Chinese Americans, and as those Chinese Americans have their own children, they can share this book as an example of what their childhood was like.

Tan's greatest strength is her sense of character. The main protagonist in "The Joy Luck Club" is collecting stories from her "aunties" and their daughters, so every chapter is from a different person's perspective. Not only does each character have a different background, but they each bring something new to the table in their different ways of adjusting to American life. You really get the sense of each character's believable internal personhood. This is the most evident when both the mothers and their daughters recount similar events in their own chapters. "The Joy Luck Club" is a practice in reconciliation in its approach to understanding one's American and Chinese ways of thinking and bridging the generational gap.

This book was written by mothers and daughters for mothers and daughters, so naturally the female characters are going to be center stage. Even so, I was troubled by how men were handled in this work. They are annoying younger brothers, fathers who do everything just right and love the mother's cooking, or most commonly, white boyfriends/husbands that just don't understand what their girlfriends/wives are going through. I cannot recall one successful Chinese-American & American marriage--or any Chinese-American & Chinese marriage--featured here. Men in "The Joy Luck Club" exist to be fed, married, escaped from, divorced from, or otherwise generally forgotten. In this aspect of life, the story is lacking, and for this I only granted it 4 stars.

Nonetheless, this is an important modern work that I would recommend to most. The narrator for the Audible edition was good, and I am glad I read this. I have not yet watched the movie adaptation, but I hope to be able to soon.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • SRem
  • 07-03-18

Beautifully written

I found the different life stories really engaging but wished I had written down the characters and their relationships as it progressed as got confused about whose story I was listening to. The narrator was lovely, but her 'American mans voice' was pretty poor, though did like the Chinese pronunciation. I will be getting another Amy Tan book for sure and delve into the magic of China again.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tracy
  • 05-30-18

An old favourite

My paperback book has been read so many times it is falling apart. Such a joy to hear this wonderful novel as an audio book. Well narrated.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • dale
  • 04-09-15

A joyful experience

I had read this novel many years ago and needed to re read it to lecture about it. I loved it. It contains so much information on Chinese culture post WW2 and how our context impacts on not only our own lives but our children's lives, especially how behaviours and habits in our relationships can be intergenerational. After listening to it I also revisited the movie and it too is great. I want my adult daughter to read it now. So much to learn from this novel and so much to enjoy. The narration was very realistic and added to the sense of empathy the characters evoked in the listener.