Amazon describes The Joy Luck Club, as "Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who's "saying" the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. 'To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable.' Forty years later the stories and history continue. With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery."
Years ago, I saw the movie, and while I did enjoy it, Amy Tan's novel is (as books almost always are) world's beyond what I thought it might be. Tan weaves together an incredible portrait of family, and the sacrifices that mothers and daughters make. While this story is partly told by the daughters, I do feel that the heart of the stories lie with the mothers and that the daughters' chapters are there more for interpretation than adding onto the story. These stories made me laugh, broke my heart, and inspired me one after the other. This book, written about 2 generations of Chinese women in the 1900s, garners interest across the world because of Tan's ability to write in a way that crosses the cultural divide. Tan is able to show that the relationship between mothers and daughters is a part of a universal language and her picture of those bonds is breathtaking.
Have you read The Joy Luck Club? Or maybe just seen the movie? What do you think of Tan's story of generations? Who do you think carries the overall plot of the story more - the mothers or the daughters? Do you have any other thoughts you want to add? I'd love to hear from you!
And now, for October's READ THIS! book, I have chosen an extremely contemporary piece of fiction, so contemporary in fact, that it only came out yesterday - J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy.
Amazon describes this as, "When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults."
I am so excited to sink into this book - I have high hopes for Rowling's next step as writer and cannot wait to let her words inspire me once again. Please say you'll read along with me!
I am very much looking forward to the first quiet weekend Josh and I have had in awhile - and really, the last one we'll have for another few weeks. We've both been feeling a little sniffly the past few days so we'll be doing a lot of relaxing (I'll be sinking into The Casual Vacancy!), but I'll also be working on some awesome projects around the apartment and getting a little bit of other work done! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!