A Critical CompanioneBook - 1998
Amy Tan has established a reputation as a major novelist of not only the Asian American experience but the universal experience of family relationships. With the publication of her first novel, The Joy Luck Club in 1988, which touched the hearts of millions of readers, Tan joined the ranks of major contemporary novelists. Adapting her brand of Chinese traditional talk story as a vehicle for exploring the lives of the mothers and daughters at the center of her novels, Tan allows readers to experience the lives of her characters from multiple perspectives in parallel and intersecting narratives. In this first full-length study of her work, E.D. Huntley explores the fictional worlds Tan has created in her three novels, The Joy Luck Club , The Kitchen God's Wife , and The Hundred Secret Senses .
A biographical chapter discusses the relationship of Tan with her own mother and its influence and that of her family on the subject matter of her novels. A chapter on Tan's literary heritage places her squarely in the tradition of Asian American literature. Each novel is discussed in a separate chapter and includes sections on plot development, character development, narrative structure, literary devices, setting, and major themes. Each chapter also includes an alternative critical reading from which to approach the novel to help readers see the novel in a different light. A complete bibliography of Tan's writings, writings about her work, and a list of reviews of each novel completes the work. This study is the ideal guide for students and readers of Tan's novels.