Amy Tan’s “The Joy Luck Club” follows the lives of eight women, four mothers and their daughters. The novel is a deeply thoughtful exploration of immigration and its effect on family ties and heritage. All four of the mothers came to America from China during a time of war and stayed to get married and start families.
One of the most effective aspects of the novel is Tan’s broad perspective. She manages to make more than 50 years, starting with the childhoods of the mothers, feel intimate and particular. Each mother and her daughter is distinct and real; the reader can’t help but fall in love with the deeply flawed characters. The novel, while focused on adult women and their mothers, is a coming-of-age story. The reader has the privilege of watching as all eight women come to terms with their Chinese heritage and its implications in an American context.
Beyond the plot, the novel is simply well-written. Tan packs an incredible amount of information, emotion, and beauty into every single sentence. Her style is readable, clever, and fun.