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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 listeners say about The Joy Luck Club

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

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 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • KC
  • 28-12-20

An insight into a world I could never know

This story took me to places, times and experiences so very different to those in my own life that I was fascinated, shocked and surprised in turns. I am reminded of the power of books to transcend culture, history and geography and glad that I chose to read ‘The Joy Luck Club’ even though it was nothing like the book I hoped for. You see, I had done a search under ‘feel-good literature’ and this is one that popped up. The title also seemed to confirm this as a good choice. In fact many aspects of the story are harrowing and uncomfortable but, like all really good books, in my view, it does at least, end with hope. I’d encourage others to read it as it is well written, educative and thought provoking.

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disappointing

certainly did not live up to expectations. reading was like wading through treacle . ploughed on hoping it would improve.

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Note down story titles and names of characters

Most characters have 2 names and chapters 1 and 2 require a lot of concentration as the stories don’t make sense without noting the names and the characters relationships to one another. Joy Luck Club contains sixteen interwoven stories about conflicts between Chinese immigrant mothers and their American-raised daughters. The book hinges on Jing-mei's (also called June) trip to China to meet her half-sisters, twins Chwun Yu and Chwun Hwa. The Joy Luck Club describes the lives of four Asian women who fled China in the 1940s and their four very Americanised daughters. The novel focuses on Jing-mei "June" Woo, a thirty-six-year-old daughter, who, after her mother's death, takes her place at the meetings of a social group called the Joy Luck Club.

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hard to keep up with who is who!

I found it difficult to keep up with who was who. Gwendolyn Yeo is a fabulous narrator.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-08-16

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.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anna Hickman
  • 31-01-15

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.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Leslie Teicholz
  • 16-03-04

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.

55 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tammy
  • 19-02-16

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.

24 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara Thompson
  • 17-11-15

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • maesyn muse
  • 09-03-15

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 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Caryl
  • 16-09-16

I love the individual perceptions of the character

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

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew
  • 27-05-16

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-11-20

Close to home

This book touched me. Very close to home. It made me appreciate my Asian mother.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Leslie Gail Mnich
  • 26-11-20

Joy Luck Club💞

I really enjoyed this book! Very interesting stories about people in China, and all their superstitions! I really enjoyed learning about their history! I like the way Amy Tan writes her books! The narrator is excellent! I will reading more of her books! Thank you very much!❤️ Leslie😊