On (re)reading The Joy Luck Club

I’ve been re-reading Amy Tan’s incredible book The Joy Luck Club and just like the first time around, I can’t put it down.

If you haven’t yet read Tan’s masterpiece, I can’t recommend it enough. In essence, it details the relationships between Chinese-American women and their Chinese immigrant mothers and weaves together their respective histories in a way that’s…well, breathtaking. Very few books have touched me as deeply as The Joy Luck Club. I admire its style, the depth of its characters, the complexity of the circumstances and family histories laid bare, but more than anything I just simply love how Tan creates a story that’s authentic and yet universal enough so that anyone can see themselves in it.

In fact, it was The Joy Luck Club that first gave me a model (read: permission) for the kind of books I want to write. I strive to create a space in the literary canon for the Salvadoran diaspora and to showcase our stories to bring them into the conversation. I dream of the day when I can give my parents and nephews a copy of my book and say, “Here’s part of our history. Read it. Learn it. And never forget it.”

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