14/03/2004

The Joy Luck Club

A novel by Amy Tan.

I found this a strange book, showing the lives of four Chinese families with individual portraits of the mothers and daughters. There are sixteen chapters in four sections, switching from character to character looking at different periods in their lives, so I found it quite confusing.

Jing-Mei's mother has died so Jing-Mei has four chapters to herself; everyone else has two. Overall the book is about Chinese life and culture, adapting to the American way of life. There are odd amusing moments of language confusion, and some sadness, but I couldn't get emotionally involved as none of the people were really drawn deeply enough. It read almost like a series of short stories rather than a novel.

The ending was positive, and tied in with the first chapter, although it rather left me wondering what was the point of the rest of the book! Still, it was a pleasant enough read overall and gave some insights into some cross-cultural issues. I wrote a longer review at the Ciao site called 'The Generation Gap with a Cross-Cultural Slant'.

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