The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan

Amy Tan (born February 19, 1952, is an American writer whose works explore mother-daughter relationships and the Chinese-American experience. Her best-known work is The Joy Luck Club, which has been translated into 35 languages. In 1993, this book was adapted into a commercially successful film directed by Wayne Wang. (

The brief outline of The Kitchen God’s Wife is as follows. Winnie and Helen have kept each other’s worst secrets for more than fifty years. Now, because she believes she is dying, Helen wants to expose everything. And Winnie angrily determines that she must be the one to tell her daughter, Pearl, about the past—including the terible truth even Helen does not know. And so begins Winnie’s story of her life on a small island outside Shanghai in the 1920s, and other places in China during World War II, and traces the happy and desperate events that led to Winnie’s coming to America in 1949. This novel is narrated in a casual, conversational style and does demand some commitment in time. It does also have a memorable intensity and an engrossing quality which you will remember if you stay with it.

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432 pages in Harper Perennial

First published 1991

ISBN  978-0007179978

Amy Tan

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