Amy Tan (February 19, 1952 - ..)
Born: 19th February, 1952
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Novelist
Region: Oakland, California, "The Hundred Secret Senses", "The Joy Luck Club", "Saving Fish from Drowning", "The Kitchen God's Wife", "The Valley of Amazement", "The Bonesetter's Daughter"

Amy Tan Facts

Biography

Amy Tan, in full Amy Ruth Tan, (born February 19, 1952, Oakland, California, U.S.), American author of novels about Chinese American women and the immigrant experience.

Tan grew up in California and in Switzerland and studied English and linguistics at San Jose State University (B.A., 1973; M.A., 1974) and the University of California, Berkeley. She was a highly successful freelance business writer in 1987 when she took her Chinese immigrant mother to revisit China. There Tan, for the first time, met two of her half sisters, a journey and a meeting that inspired part of her first novel, The Joy Luck Club (1989; film 1993). The novel relates the experiences of four Chinese mothers, their Chinese American daughters, and the struggles of the two disparate cultures and generations to relate to each other.

Her second novel, The Kitchen God's Wife (1991), was inspired by her mother's history; it concerns a Chinese mother who accepts American ways clumsily and her relationship to her thoroughly Americanized daughter. In The Hundred Secret Senses (1995), an American woman gradually learns to appreciate her Chinese half sister and the knowledge she imparts. Tan again explored the complex relationships of mothers and daughters in The Bonesetter's Daughter (2001), in which a woman cares for her mother, who is afflicted with Alzheimer disease. In Saving Fish from Drowning (2005), an idiosyncratic San Francisco art dealer narrates the story of a group of tourists traveling through China and Myanmar (Burma). The Valley of Amazement (2013) told the stories of an American woman, who opens a high-class brothel in Shanghai, and her daughter, who is trained as a courtesan. An excerpt from the novel had been published in 2011 as the e-book Rules for Virgins.

Tan also published the collection of essays The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings (2003) and the children's stories The Moon Lady (1992) and The Chinese Siamese Cat (1994; adapted as a television series in 2001). Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir was published in 2017.

Top 83 Amy Tan quotes

It's both rebellion and conformity that attack you with success.
Attack
Both
Conformity
Rebellion
Success
You
I didn't fear failure. I expected failure.
Expected
Failure
Fear
It's a luxury being a writer, because all you ever think about is life.
About
Because
Being
Ever
Life
Luxury
Think
Writer
You
Who knows where inspiration comes from. Perhaps it arises from desperation. Perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the muses.
Arises
Desperation
Inspiration
Kindness
Knows
Muses
Perhaps
Universe
Where
Who
God, life changes faster than you think.
Changes
Faster
God
Life
Life changes
Than
Think
You
I also thought of playing improvisational jazz and I did take lessons for a while. At first I tried to write fiction by making up things that were completely alien to my life.
Alien
Also
Did
Fiction
First
I tried
Improvisational
Jazz
Lessons
Life
Making
Making up
My life
Playing
I have a writer's memory which makes everything worse than maybe it actually was.
Actually
Everything
Makes
Maybe
Memory
Than
Which
Worse
Writer
I learned to forgive myself, and that enabled me to forgive my mother as a person.
Forgive
Learned
Me
Mother
Myself
Person
I loved fairy tales when I was a kid. Grimm. The grimmer the better. I loved gruesome gothic tales and, in that respect, I liked Bible stories, because to me they were very gothic.
Because
Better
Bible
Fairy
Fairy tales
Gothic
Kid
Liked
Loved
Me
Respect
Stories
Tales
Very
I read a book a day when I was a kid. My family was not literary; we did not have any books in the house.
Any
Book
Books
Day
Did
Family
House
Kid
Literary
Read
I saw my mother in a different light. We all need to do that. You have to be displaced from what's comfortable and routine, and then you get to see things with fresh eyes, with new eyes.
Comfortable
Different
Displaced
Eyes
Fresh
Get
Light
Mother
Need
New
New eyes
Routine
Saw
See
I started a second novel seven times and I had to throw them away.
Away
Had
Novel
Second
Seven
Started
Them
Throw
Times
I think I've always been somebody, since the deaths of my father and brother, who was afraid to hope. So, I was more prepared for failure and for rejection than for success.
Afraid
Always
Been
Brother
Deaths
Failure
Father
Hope
I think
More
Prepared
Rejection
Since
Somebody
I thought I was clever enough to write as well as these people and I didn't realize that there is something called originality and your own voice.
Clever
Enough
Originality
Own
People
Realize
Something
Thought
Voice
Well
Write
Your
I used to think that my mother got into arguments with people because they didn't understand her English, because she was Chinese.
Argument
Because
Chinese
English
Got
Her
Mother
People
She
Think
Understand
Used
I wanted to write stories for myself. At first it was purely an aesthetic thing about craft. I just wanted to become good at the art of something. And writing was very private.
About
Aesthetic
Art
Become
Craft
First
Good
Just
Myself
Private
Purely
Something
Stories
Thing
I was intelligent enough to make up my own mind. I not only had freedom of choice, I had freedom of expression.
Choice
Enough
Expression
Freedom
Freedom of expression
Had
Intelligent
Make
Make up
Mind
My own
Only
Own
Up
I would find myself laughing and wondering where these ideas came from. You can call it imagination, I suppose. But I was grateful for wherever they came from.
Call
Came
Find
Grateful
Ideas
Imagination
Laughing
Myself
Suppose
Where
Wherever
Wondering
Would
You
I would still like to have that luxury, to be able to just sit and draw for hours and hours and hours. In a way, that's what I do as a writer.
Able
Draw
Hours
Hours and hours
Just
Like
Luxury
Sit
Still
Way
Would
Writer
My mother had a very difficult childhood, having seen her own mother kill herself. So she didn't always know how to be the nurturing mother that we all expect we should have.
Always
Childhood
Difficult
Expect
Had
Having
Her
Herself
How
Know
Mother
Nurturing
Own
Seen
My mother said I was a clingy kid until I was about four. I also remember that from the age of eight she and I fought almost every day.
About
Age
Almost
Almost every day
Also
Day
Eight
Every
Every day
Fought
Four
Kid
Mother
Remember
My parents had very high expectations. They expected me to get straight A's from the time I was in kindergarten.
Expectations
Expected
Get
Had
High
High expectations
Kindergarten
Me
Parents
Straight
Time
Very
My parents told me I would become a doctor and then in my spare time I would become a concert pianist. So, both my day job and my spare time were sort of taken care of.
Become
Both
Care
Concert
Concert pianist
Day
Day job
Doctor
Job
Me
Parents
Pianist
Sort
Spare
No one in my family was a reader of literary fiction. So, I didn't have encouragement, but I didn't have discouragement, because I don't think anybody knew what that meant.
Anybody
Because
Discouragement
Encouragement
Family
Fiction
Knew
Literary
Literary fiction
Meant
No-one
Reader
Think
Placing on writers the responsibility to represent a culture is an onerous burden.
Burden
Culture
Placing
Represent
Responsibility
Writers
She said 'I'm by commission. You don't have to pay anything until you sell anything.' I said, 'Well fine. You want to be my agent and not make anything.' I thought, 'Boy, is she dumb.'
Agent
Anything
Boy
Commission
Dumb
Fine
Make
Pay
Said
Sell
She
Thought
Until
Want
That was a wonderful period in my life. I mean, I didn't become an artist, but somebody let me do something I loved. What a luxury, to do something you love to do.
Artist
Become
Life
Love
Loved
Luxury
Me
Mean
My life
Period
Somebody
Something
Wonderful
You
The forbidden things were a great influence on my life. I was forbidden from reading A Catcher in the Rye.
Catcher
Catcher in the rye
Forbidden
Great
Influence
Life
My life
Reading
Things
Were
There are a lot of people who think that's what's needed to be successful is always being right, always being careful, always picking the right path.
Always
Being
Careful
Lot
Needed
Path
People
Picking
Right
Right path
Successful
Think
Who
Words to me were magic. You could say a word and it could conjure up all kinds of images or feelings or a chilly sensation or whatever. It was amazing to me that words had this power.
Amazing
Chilly
Could
Feelings
Had
Images
Kinds
Magic
Me
Power
Say
Sensation
Up
Were
Writing is an extreme privilege but it's also a gift. It's a gift to yourself and it's a gift of giving a story to someone.
Also
Extreme
Gift
Giving
Privilege
Someone
Story
Writing
Yourself
You can get sucked into the idea that, 'Gosh, this is impressive. Maybe I should do this. It will look good.' Or 'I'll write like this because it will impress that critic.'
Because
Critic
Get
Good
Gosh
Idea
Impress
Impressive
Like
Look
Maybe
Should
Sucked
Will
You write a book and you hope somebody will go out and pay $24.95 for what you've just said. I think books were my salvation. Books saved me from being miserable.
Being
Book
Books
Go
Hope
I think
Just
Me
Miserable
Out
Pay
Said
Salvation
Saved
In America nobody says you have to keep the circumstances somebody else gives you.
America
Circumstances
Else
Gives
Keep
Nobody
Says
Somebody
You
I did not lose myself all at once. I rubbed out my face over the years washing away my pain, the same way carvings on stone are worn down by water.
Away
Carving
Did
Down
Face
Lose
Myself
Once
Out
Over
Pain
Same
Stone
Washing
People think it's a terrible tragedy when somebody has Alzheimer's. But in my mother's case, it's different. My mother has been unhappy all her life. For the first time in her life, she's happy.
Alzheimer
Been
Case
Different
First
First time
Happy
Has-been
Her
Life
Mother
People
She
Somebody
We are the kind of people who obsess over one word... but we have only one shot to get it right in concert. It was hard the first time I practiced with them. I was so nervous that my vocal chords were paralyzed for about a half-hour.
About
Chords
Concert
First
First time
Get
Hard
Kind
Nervous
Obsess
One word
Only
Over
Paralyzed
I have survivor skills. Some of that is superficial - what I present to people outwardly - but what makes people resilient is the ability to find humour and irony in situations that would otherwise overpower you.
Ability
Find
Humour
Irony
Makes
Otherwise
People
Present
Resilient
Situations
Skills
Some
Superficial
Survivor
People talk about this 'bucket list': 'I need to go to this country, I need to skydive.' Whereas I need to think as much as I can, to feel as much as I can, to be conscious and observe and understand me and the people around me as much as I can.
About
Around
Bucket
Conscious
Country
Feel
Go
I can
List
Me
Much
Need
Observe
People
My favorite anything is always relative to the context of present time, place and mood. When I finish a book and want to immediately find another by the same author and no other, that author is elevated to my favorite.
Always
Another
Anything
Author
Book
Context
Elevated
Favorite
Find
Finish
Immediately
Mood
Other
Place
I'm open to reading almost anything - fiction, nonfiction - as long as I know from the first sentence or two that this is a voice I want to listen to for a good long while. It has much to do with imagery and language, a particular perspective, the assured knowledge of the particular universe the writer has created.
Almost
Almost anything
Anything
Assured
Created
Fiction
First
Good
Imagery
Know
Knowledge
Language
Listen
Long
I don't steer clear of genres. I simply haven't steered myself toward some of them.
Clear
Genres
Myself
Simply
Some
Steer
Steered
Them
Toward
I would never require anyone to read any book. That seems antithetical to why we read - which is to choose a book for our personal reasons. I always shudder when I'm told my books are on required reading lists.
Always
Any
Anyone
Book
Books
Choose
Lists
Never
Our
Personal
Personal reasons
Read
Reading
Reasons
At the beginning of my career as a writer, I felt I knew nothing of Chinese culture. I was writing about emotional confusion with my mother related to our different beliefs. Hers was based in family history, which I didn't know anything about. I always felt hesitant in talking about Chinese culture and American culture.
About
Always
American
American culture
Anything
Based
Beginning
Beliefs
Career
Chinese
Chinese culture
Confusion
Culture
Different
I am an American, steeped in American values. But I know on an emotional level what it means to be of the Chinese culture.
Am
American
American values
Chinese
Chinese culture
Culture
Emotional
Emotional level
I am
Know
Level
Means
Values
Chinese artists have been subversive over thousands of years, taking what they think of the government and embedding it in their art. There might be censorship of not going as far as they might.
Art
Artists
As far as
Been
Censorship
Chinese
Far
Going
Government
Might
Over
Subversive
Taking
Think
I write because I know that one day I will die, and thus I should experience as many deliberate observations, careful thoughts, wild ideas, and deep emotions as I can before that day occurs.
Because
Before
Careful
Day
Deep
Deliberate
Die
Emotions
Experience
I can
I write
Ideas
Know
Many
My writing often contains souvenirs of the day - a song I heard, a bird I saw - which I then put into the novel.
Bird
Contains
Day
Heard
Novel
Often
Put
Saw
Song
Then
Which
Writing
When I go back and read my journals or fiction, I am always surprised. I may not remember having those thoughts, but they still exist and I know they are mine, and it's all part of making sense of who I am.
Always
Am
Back
Exist
Fiction
Go
Having
I am
I may not
Journals
Know
Making
May
Mine
I'd like to be more forgiving. There are times when I've had a hard time forgiving people who have betrayed me.
Betrayed
Forgiving
Had
Hard
Hard time
Like
Me
More
People
Time
Times
Who

Amy Tan essays

Read more informative topics on our blog
Mother Tongue Essay
It is a known fact that our mother tongue has an important role to play in our lives and this is something you should make sure to mention in your Mother Tongue essay. According to the author, Amy Tan, the language a person speaks defines the person they are and the choices they make. In her work Amy Tan writes about how her mother language has affected her life over the years. This is an especially important topic especially in the case of people with bilingual backgrounds. According to the author, if a person isn’t a native English speaker or doesn’t speak the language perfectly it doesn’t mean that they..
Responce To Working Life Of A Waitress English Vocabulary Essay
The article "Working Life of a waitress, " written by an publisher called Mike Rose, is a talk about a mother who took the main role of any waitress. Based on my perspective of the tale the protagonist was fascinated and thankful by the task of his mom even though he knew the hardships and struggles the mother had to undergo in her daily job. The narrator tells us of the way the mother can certainly deal with so many people rather than forgetting the cutlery and at the same time with a composure and knowledge of what she actually is doing. After reading and understanding the storyline, any one who wanted to..
Two Kinds Essay
If you attend literature classes, there is a great chance that you are going to read a number of short stories and write a number of essays analyzing them. One of such stories is probably the Two Kinds, which is considered to be one of the most significant pieces of literature enlightening the conflict between two near people, the mother and her daughter. The author describes a very common to the society of all times situation, where a mother tries to fulfill her dreams by means of the life of her own daughter. Eventually, mother's attempts to influence her daughter's life cause a number of conflict..
Dissertation on Analysis Of The Poem ' Native language ' Simply by Amy Tan
In America do we have to speak English to be American? Does not speaking English allow you to uneducated? Although people categorize others centered solely from your way communicate, your language will not necessarily establish who you are as being a person. You need to learn to adopt your language along with your ethnicity. In both of these documents, "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan and "How to Tame a Wild Tongue" by Elegancia Anzaldua, we all learn that without our native terminology we would have trouble embracing the ethnicity.1st, both essays are drafted in first person..
A Moms dream Dissertation
A Mother's WishTo get a lot children growing up, our mothers have been a great complete element of what made us who we could. Mostly great mothers need thebest for the youngster and they are identify to do whatever it takes for them to have it. The central struggle in Amy Tan's story Two Kinds'' is actually abattle of wills between the narrator, a young Chinese-American girl, and her mother, a Chinese immigrant. "Two Kinds'' can be described as coming-of-age storywhen the narrator, Jing-mei, struggles to forge her own perception of identification in the..
Essay about A Summary Around the Book ' The Fish ' Simply by Cynthia Rylant
Every individual thinks about a specific question at least once in the life span. The question that may be most seriously considered is, ¨Who am I? ¨ Many persons would act in response with their brand, their parents, or where they live. Others use their status, their job, and their appears. At last, a few others identify themselves by way of a significant actions they have carried out. In some reports, characters try to find out who they really are. In the brief stories ¨Fish Cheeks¨ by simply Amy Tan, ¨Two Kinds¨ by Amy Tan, and ¨Papa´s Parrot¨ by Cynthia..
Diversity In the Lgbtq Community Essay
Range within the LGBTQ communityIn the last few years the LGBTQ community has received a ton of attention through the media and society. The court lording it over this past June, approving homosexual marriage, made incredible progress in receiving this community. Though the progress, there are many groups left out of this new found popularity. These teams include people that are bisexual, transgender, intersex, and genderqueer. When culture doesn't figure out something they will reject it. Many people don't realize that they are persons too with emotions and simply as much of..
Article on Family From The To the south By Alice Walker
Family is forever. As it's said blood vessels is heavier than drinking water but it is definitely not always the best, because sometimes the people nearest to us can do the most destruction. Family members deliver pressures and sometime requirements to live by, and this can often can be selfish to try to live by another's standards whether they want one to be like themselves or end up like someone that they know; they may always expect and assess you to the very best "Everyday use" by Alice walker can be described as story regarding family from your south, the narrator is actually..
Conflicting Points of Look at in Two Kinds by simply Amy Color Essay
The story "Two Kinds" by simply Amy Tan is about a mother and daughter who may have strong inconsistant ideas by what it means to experience a sense of self. This can be partly as a result of mother developing up in China and tiawan, which is a different culture than the American lifestyle where unlimited opportunities can be obtained to anyone who wants to pursue them. Jing-mei's mother wants her daughter to be the finest, a natural born player of kinds, and to have the kind of your life, full of hopes and dreams that the lady did not include. In the beginning of the story Jing-mei liked..
The Mother and Little girl Relationships in Amy Tan's The Joy Good luck Club Composition
Mom and Little girl Struggle in The Joy Good luck ClubThe enjoyment Luck Team, by Amy Tan, demonstrates what a lot more like for many foreigners in the us who are attempting to give the youngster the opportunities they probably did not have got themselves while children. The story touches on a very common struggle in America, that between mother and daughter, in which the daughter hardly ever feels good enough for her mother. As well present is the struggle Jing-Mei has with herself.Jing-Mei's mother has her mind set on producing her child a natural born player of some type. She constantly squeezes..
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