Several generations of Chinese immigrants sit around a table of mahjong to share stories and pass on their traditions.
The focus of this book is the relationship between mothers and daughters, and more specifically the struggles women born in China have to communicate with their "Americanized" daughters.
The Joy Luck Club is not a linear narration as it goes back and forth in time depending on the character focus of each chapter. It also artfully blurs the line between reality and myth, to express the fascination and the pain that result from what can be interpreted by the Americanized daughters and the West in general as inconsistent or even untruthful story-telling on account of the Chinese mothers. As a reader, I was absolutely enchanted by the beauty of the myths, beliefs and traditions. At the same time, I could feel for the American daughters, their frustrations, and need to get a clearer picture of what they regarded as the truth about their mothers' past.
The Joy Luck Club has a lot of things in common with Maxine Hong Kingston' The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts. While The Joy Luck Club was less creative stylistically, it was also less personal and therefore wider in scope.