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The Joy Luck Club

By: Amy Tan
Narrated by: Gwendoline Yeo
Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,558 ratings)

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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
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Performance

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Story

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  • 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.

4 of 4 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.

52 of 63 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    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.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    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.

6 of 7 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.

2 of 2 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!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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

Difficult to follow in audiobook format

I wanted to like this book, I really did. I had not read it on release or in its heyday, but I got on the bandwagon for the 25th Anniversary. I did enjoy the stories / vignettes, but it was impossible to keep the mothers and daughters straight. And if you can't do that, you miss out on the trajectory and the underlying empathy and pathos between them. In a book format, I would simply turn back a few pages and remind myself who's-who. Can't do that in audio. And the undistinguished voices from the narrator provided no help.

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

The reading lacks emotion.

I really couldn't finish the book because the narrator's voices were irritating and she spoke very much like Alexa most of the time.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    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
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    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.