The Big Read Blog (Archive)


October 2, 2009
Washington, DC

The Art of Tea at the Gillis Branch Library during Fresno Public Library's Big Read of The Joy Luck Club. Photo by Roberta Barton

Here's a short take from novelist-critic-scholar Carolyn See on what makes Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club read-worthy.

[Amy Tan] listened incredibly.  What made this book so amazing to me, I think, is that she does capture eight different voices.  They?re all gradations of Chinese American-ness, and all she did was just listen. When you have a really excellent writer they?re not making it up out of themselves. They?re listening to the larger universe and funneling it through.  And I think that?s what makes that first scene in the living room so amazing is that, again, these are voices that have been out there, but nobody has heard and nobody?s written it down. I think her astonishing quality is that she just listens to her characters and lets them talk.

What's your take? Let me know your thoughts on what you think it takes to write an enduring novel, and I'll post your answers in a future blog.

And don't forget to check out The Big Read calendar to find a Big Read taking place near you.


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