Amy Tan’s ‘The Joy Luck Club’

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Date(s) - 18/11/2015
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


About the Story

‘Even though I was young, I could see the pain of the flesh and the worth of the pain.’ Amy Tan in The Joy Luck Club

Amy Tan’s ‘The Joy Luck Club’Two months after her mother’s death, the narrator remembers her mother’s stories about her life in China before she emigrated to the United States.

About  Amy Tan

Amy Tan was born in Oakland, California, in 1952, to Chinese-immigrant parents. When she was fifteen Tan’s older brother and father both died of brain tumours; her mother relocated the family to Switzerland. There Tan learned about her mother’s life in China, her abusive marriage to her previous husband and the children she was forced to leave behind when she emigrated to the USA. Her mother’s experience was the basis for The Joy Luck Club (1989), a collection of short stories. Tan also writes novels.

Tan notes that, ‘at the beginning of my career as a writer, I felt I knew nothing of Chinese culture. I was writing about emotional confusion with my mother related to our different beliefs. Hers was based in family history, which I didn’t know anything about. I always felt hesitant in talking about Chinese culture and American culture.’


Participants are asked to read and think about the story prior to the session. We will use the text of the story as a springboard for our conversation; participant questions, responses and ideas are welcomed to help navigate the challenges of the work. There is no expectation of previous study or work with the story, or in the academic tradition.

All stories in this series can be found in The Granta Book of the American Short Story (vol. 1) edited by Richard Ford; available for purchase at Waterstones.

This session will be chaired and supported by Basil Lawrence

SAP Public Programme Jung & Literature Series Convenor: Louise Dymoke

External Co-Convenor: Basil Lawrence

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