Cover image for Amy Tan : a critical companion
Amy Tan : a critical companion
Huntley, E. D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xiv, 165 pages ; 25 cm.
Life of Amy Tan -- Amy Tan and Asian American literature -- Joy Luck Club (1988) -- Kitchen God's wife (1991) -- Hundred secret senses (1995).
Reading Level:
1520 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3570.A48 Z69 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS3570.A48 Z69 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS3570.A48 Z69 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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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.

Author Notes

E.D. HUNTLEY is author of V.C. Andrews: A Critical Companion (Greenwood Press 1996). She is Professor of English and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. In addition to her administrative duties, she teaches courses in drama. She is preparing a two-volume anthology of Native American plays and First Nations: A Research Guide to Native American Drama , he has also begun work on a book about Maxine Hong Kingston's works.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In five chapters, Huntley (Appalachian State Univ.) provides the student with an accessible, clear, and comprehensive overview of Tan's three novels,The Joy Luck Club (1988), The Kitchen God's Wife (1991), and The Hundred Secret Senses (1995). Pulling from a variety of contemporary sources, chapters 1 and 2 sketch Tan's relationship with her own mother and situate her work within the Asian American literary tradition. The remaining three chapters, each devoted to one novel, follow a coherent pattern: Huntley analyzes each novel in terms of plot development, narrative structure, point of view, character development, setting, literary devices, and major themes and issues. Although these sections overlap somewhat, they can be read together or separately. Huntley not only recaps Tan's plots with all of the major and minor characters but simultaneously gives a sense of Tan's style. In addition, she examines each novel through an "alternative" critical reading, including cultural, feminist, and mythic criticism. The useful, current bibliography introduces the student to additional Tan criticism as well as primary works. For undergraduate collections. B. M. McNeal; Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

Series ForewordKathleen Gregory Klein
The Life of Amy Tan Amy Tan and Asian American Literature
The Joy Luck Club (1988)
The Kitchen God's Wife (1991)
The Hundred Secret Senses (1995)