A FINE FIRST EDITION OF TAN’S FIRST BOOK, COPIOUSLY ANNOTATED THROUGHOUT. Laid in are 3 postcards, 2 of which are signed. Structurally, The Joy Luck Club is arranged in 4 parts with 4 chapters per part. Tan initially wrote each chapter as its own story; in fact, the word “Stories” appeared on the title-page in review copies (“The word STORIES appeared here in the advanced reader. When the early reviews came in calling the book a novel, the word ‘stories’ was struck from the book that went to print”). She recalls writing her first “story,” which became the “Rules of the Game” chapter in “The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates” section: “This was the first story I wrote…I met with Molly Giles, a writer, who told me I had not written a story but perhaps 12 stories – their beginnings – with different voices. Pick one, she advised, and start over.” Tan has later said that those early stories became The Joy Luck Club. Prior to the first chapter, “The Joy Luck Club,” Tan recalls: “Before I wrote this chapter, I had a scare. I thought my mother had died of a heart attack. It was too late to ever get to know her.” It turned out she “had bruised her ribs leaning over a counter to argue with a fishmonger. In this story, I imagined what I would have struggled to remember and understand about my mother.” She mentions another of her influences, a trip she took to China with her mother in 1987, and she explains the origin of the chop she had made during that trip which is printed with the list of characters. Her annotations provide a rich background about the characters and events featured within the novel. The Joy Luck Club spent 40 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, and was a National Book Award and National Book Critic Award nominee.
TAN, Amy (b. 1952). The Joy Luck Club. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1989. 8°. Original boards; dust jacket.