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Four mothers, four daughters and their intertwined stories of trauma, identity and understanding

In this episode of the Talk of Iowa Book Club, host Charity Nebbe is joined by four expert readers to discuss The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Published in 1989, the novel tells the stories of four mothers and four daughters. The mothers are all Chinese immigrants to the United States who have survived incredible hardship in their pasts and built new lives in San Francisco. The daughters are first-generation Americans. The mothers and daughters struggle to understand each other, but through 16 intertwined stories we come to understand and know these women.


  • Xixuan Collins, retired professor of biology and author of Flowing Water, Falling Flowers
  • Kristine Munoz, professor in Spanish and Portuguese and Communication Studies, University of Iowa
  • Lynn Nugent, editor of the Iowa Review, the flagship literary magazine of the University of Iowa
  • Jennifer Haylett, associate professor of sociology and criminology, University of Iowa
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa