READ THIS! {Updates & Reviews}

Good Morning and Happy Thursday! I'm so sorry for my absence yesterday! My schedule this Fall is much busier than what I've been used to in the past, and I'm still working out a few of the behind the scenes kinks to keep things posting smoothly here. Today, I want to share with you a few reviews of this month's READ THIS! novel, The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan.
This is a wonderful novel, and although I'm not quite finished with it, it has left me in awe of both Tan's ability to craft a story, as well as her deep and genuine characters. So far, I am head over heels for this novel - and I am not alone. While there was some criticism of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, her debut novel (this was published in 1989!) was incredibly well-received among the literary community.
In the NY Times, Orville Schell reviewed the book by writing, "In [The Joy Luck Club], her first novel, short-story-like vignettes alternate back and forth between the lives of four Chinese women in pre-1949 China and the lives of their American-born daughters in California. The book is a meditation on the divided nature of this emigrant life. [...] In the hands of a less talented writer such thematic material might easily have become overly didactic, and the characters might have seemed like cutouts from a Chinese-American knockoff of 'Roots.' But in the hands of Amy Tan, who has a wonderful eye for what is telling, a fine ear for dialogue, a deep empathy for her subject matter and a guilelessly straightforward way of writing, they sing with a rare fidelity and beauty. She has written a jewel of a book."
In the Christian Science Monitor, Merle Rubin wrote, "Amy Tan's first novel, [The Joy Luck Club], is a touching, funny, sad, insightful, and artfully constructed group portrait of four mother-daughter relationships that endure not only a generation gap, but the more unbridgeable gap between two cultures. [...] The 16 linked stories that make up this novel fill in both sides of the gap: four sections of four stories each, told by seven voices.[...] Each story is a gem, complete in itself. Yet each is further enhanced by its relationship (direct or indirect) with the others. The range is remarkable: The author deftly captures the neurotic comedy of contemporary life styles and the scarring tragedies of the hidden Chinese past. [...] In Tan's hands, these linked stories - diverse as they are - fit almost magically into a powerfully coherent novel, whose winning combination of ingredients - immigrant experience, mother-daughter ties, Pacific Rim culture - make it a book with the 'good luck' to be in the right place at the right time."
And finally, Kirkus Reviews asserted, "An inordinately moving, electric exploration of two warring cultures fused in love, focused on the lives of four Chinese women--who emigrated, in their youth, at various times, to San Francisco--and their very American 30-ish daughters. Tan probes the tension of love and often angry bewilderment as the older women watch their daughters "as from another shore," and the daughters struggle to free themselves from maddening threads of arcane obligation. More than the gap between generations, more than the dwindling of old ways, the Chinese mothers most fear that their own hopes and truths--the secret gardens of the spirit that they have cultivated in the very worst of times--will not take root. [...] With lantern-lit tales of old China, a rich humanity, and an acute ear for bicultural tuning, a splendid first novel[.]"
Are you reading along with us this month as we soak up this beautiful history and portrayal of two generations exploring one another and, perhaps, teaching each other a thing or two? If you've started reading, I'd love to hear your thoughts so far! Make sure to check back here at the end of the month for the full review!



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