Amy Tan’s Chinese given name, An-mei, means “blessing from America.”
The story is close to Tan’s own experience. Her parents come to California from China, and she grew up with many of the same conflicts faced by the young heroine of the book. Tan’s parents wanted her to have a successful live in American, but they hoped she would think of herself as Chinese. As a girl, Tan wanted only to blend into American society, but when she began to write stories in the mid-1980s, she brought her two worlds together. Her personal experiences enabled her to write movingly about the relationships between immigrant parents of their children.
The Joy Luck Club, Tan’s first novel, was a surprise best-seller in 1989 and later a successful movie. Her second book, The Kitchen God’s Wife, was also successful. And in 1995 she was back on the best-seller list with The Hundred Secret Senses, a novel about a Chinese-American woman and her Chinese half sister.