Admiration For Amy Tan

amy-tanI seem to be drawn to the novels of Amy Tan. I’m unsure of the exact allure, but I find her style of writing deep and compelling. She often writes with a rawness that can feel a bit gritty, but at the same time it makes the novel feel more real and attractive. I love the way she ties history and culture into her stories, it is an added appeal (for me at least.)
Also, having two amazing daughters of my own, as well as a deep love and respect for my mother, I especially enjoy how beautifully Tan writes about mother-daughter relationships. I find the realness and emotion in her novels to be delightful. I hope I’ll have the time to read more of here work some day.

Here are what I find to be her most alluring books:

(Click pictures and titles for more info.)

The Valley of Amazement
This story is about two women’s with intertwined fates. It explores in inner workings of the Shanghai courtesan houses, the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty, and other events centered around WWII. I found the novel deeply engrossing. A very well written story.
Rated 3.6 on



The Joy Luck Club”
This novel was Amy Tan’s first best-seller and was made into a very well known and successful film. Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s “saying” the stories.
Rated 4.2 on



The bonesetter’s Daughter”
This book is about Ruth Young , a 40-ish ghostwriter in San Francisco. It follows her as she struggles to come to terms with her mother (LuLing,) who has Alzheimers disease. Ruth stumbles upon LuLing’s memoirs, and much of the book consist these memoirs.
Rated 4.1 on



The Hundred Secret Senses
I have not read this book yet and it is high up on my TBR list. I am so intrigued, not only by it’s beautiful design and good ratings, but also the story line. This taken from amazon reviews: Tan spins the tale of two sisters, two cultures, and several acts of betrayal. Knowing Tan’s style, I am looking forward to reading this novel.
Rated 4.3  on


Book Bean:
Jasmine Tea

Indulge in the sweet aroma & divine flavor of jasmine tea.
Beautiful on it’s own, but also good with a swirl of honey. 

Have you read any of Amy Tan’s work?

If so what do you like/dislike about her writing?

Fun Fact: When Tan was 15 years old, her older brother Peter and father both died of brain tumors within eight months of each other. Daisy moved Amy and her younger brother John Jr. to Switzerland, where Amy finished high school at the Institute Monte Rosa, Montreux. During this period in her life, Amy learned about her mother’s former marriage to an abusive man in China, of their four children (a son who died as a toddler and three daughters), and how her mother was forced to leave her children from a previous marriage behind in Shanghai. This incident was the basis for Tan’s first novel, 1989 New York Times bestseller The Joy Luck Club.


81 thoughts on “Admiration For Amy Tan

  1. I’ve set a goal for myself this year. 52 books in 52 weeks. The Joy Luck Club is on my list. My son had to read it in High School and was dreading it. He was convinced it was going to be boring. After he read it i asked what he thought? His exact words ”It wasn’t that bad. I actually kind of liked it.” High praise from a 16 year old boy. 🙂

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  2. I enjoyed all of Tan’s novels I’ve had the chance to read (‘The Joy Luck Club’, ‘The Hundred Secret Senses’ and ‘Saving Fish from Drowning’). One word of advice: prepare kleenex and comfort food! And if you really feel like crying like a giant baby, give ‘The Joy Luck Club’ film a try.

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  3. I read ” The Joy Luck Club” some 20 years ago and realized that I had never thought about how big the cultural shift from Chinese life in China and Chines life in the US was. I loved the book… and got introduced to Mahjong!

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  4. It was interesting reading that bit of background about Amy Tan. I’ve only read Joy Luck Club (a long time ago) and The Kitchen God’s Wife, but I liked both of them. I was surprised by how sucked in I got to the story in The Kitchen God’s Wife (it also has elements of Tan’s mother’s past). What I loved the most was the historical and cultural information I learned about China through the story. So interesting.

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  5. I’ve only read The Joy Luck Club, but I adored it immensely! I need to read more of Amy Tan. I have the Bonesetter’s Daughter. I’ll probably start with that 🙂 Thanks for sharing this post, and reminding me of this great author!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love Amy Tan. I’ve only read The Joy Luck Club, but the The Opposite of Fate is on my shelf and I’ve been meaning to read it. I agree that she has a beautiful, raw style, and her depiction of familial relationships and Asian culture is really excellent!

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  7. Besides personal taste, I find her tentative myself, just one remark. Lately I find more and more novelists, are not using culture nor history, but some very corrupt versions of either one. And to be honest that is something that bothers me. (Amongst a few other things, in some cases the authors, could learn from primary school children on how to write.)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved The Joy Luck Club and especially The Kitchen God’s Wife, but I was disappointed with The Valley of Amazement. I’ve had The Bonesetter’s Daughter and Saving Fish from Drowning on my shelves for a few years, but somehow haven’t gotten to them yet!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I liked The Kitchen God’s Wife also. I’m a huge fan of Amy Tan’s novels–I’ve read and re-read The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter’s Daughter several times. I love the emotional depth of the relationships she creates, especially the complexities of mothers and daughters who love each other, but don’t fully understand each other’s worlds. She does such an amazing job of portraying characters who are trying to reach across that gap.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I read Amy Tan then I cook. I chop vegetables. Saute meat. Sprinkle a little soy sauce, a dash of sesame oil . A smidge of Hoisen sauce. Can you ask more of a book than to have it take you into the kitchen and cook?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I have never read anything by Amy Tan – what a brilliant ambassador you are for her – she is definitely now on my list for 2016! Like some of your other commentators, I have some reading goals this year, not least to get through 50 books. I am looking forward to including Tan’s work in the mix. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: My Article Read (1-11-2016) – My Daily Musing

  13. Pingback: Tribute to Amy Tan | Cafe Book Bean

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