With these reasonable expectations, I wrote The Joy Luck Club without the self-consciousness I would later feel when the book landed on the bestseller list.
No one had predicted the book’s trajectory, and I was stunned, as if I had won the lottery without having ever bought a ticket.
As recalled by June, Suyuan tells of giving up her life to save her twin babies during wartime, only to learn she has survived but her babies have been lost.
An-mei recalls the pain of watching her mother sacrifice her own flesh to save the life of her own mother, who has already disowned her.
I had been told that the typical first book by an unknown writer might sell five thousand copies—if you were lucky.
I heard that it might last on the bookstore shelves six weeks—if you were lucky.Lindo recounts her submission to an arranged marriage but not to a fate handed to her by someone else.And Ying-Ying remembers a time when she could not stand still in another person’s shadow, as required of her, and by giving into her desire for the wrong things, she later gave up her spirit.Thus, as the mothers see it, their daughters are flailing in their modern American circumstances, unable to use what is “in their bones,” the family’s inheritance of pain that led to their determined strength for survival, which their mothers try to bequeath them.The mothers, meanwhile, watch with heartache as their daughters’ marriages fail, as they expect less and less and so accept less and less.The Joy Luck Club is a portrait of four fictional families set against the backdrop of China and America, yet the discoveries of family legacy and individual identity, of clashes and reconciliation, are universal to us all.ABOUT AMY TANAmy Tan is the author of seven books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Joy Luck Club , The Kitchen God’s Wife , and The Opposite of Fate , which was also a New York Times Notable Book.And June believes it was her mother’s impossibly high expectations that make her feel that even today, she is a failure.The reverberations of these childhood lessons reveal themselves when the four grown daughters face marital conflicts, career setbacks, and the despair of never having found what mattered to them.This may sound strange, but the book’s unexpected success scared me.Instead of being jubilant, I was upset that my former life had been usurped by success that was out of control.