The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan is Charlottesville’s choice for The Big Read this year, and I was invited to participate in a panel at The Virginia Festival of the Book to discuss it. The panel (which will also discuss/promote books by the panelists) is next week, so this week I read this wonderful work for the first time in 20 years.
I don’t remember much from my first reading, but this time I was struck by the structure. It’s really a novel in stories, rather than a linear narrative. We get the stories of 4 mothers and daughters–first and second generation immigrants from China–and we see a beautiful contrast. I was also struck by the differences among the daughters.
And then there is the final story in the book, “A Pair of Tickets,” which I’ve read a number of times because it was included in the anthology I have taught from. I have found that college freshman today are quite puzzled by this story, but for me it really resonates.
I’m looking forward to our discussion next week.