Posted in Cover Roulette

Cover Roulette: The Joy Luck Club

I did my first cover roulette post a while ago for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and it was so fun I wanted to do another! Luckily I found another popular book that has had many different editions made, and I wondered…

What other awesome covers have I missed?

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan just had it’s 30 year anniversary in 2019. In her preface to the 30th anniversary edition, Tan says that she expected her little collection of stories to disappear off shelves by six months after publication, as most debut books do. And, well… now she’s writing a 30 year anniversary preface for yet another re-publication. Pretty awesome.

I’m also finally picking this book up. It’s one of those “been meaning to for years” books that I’ve been interested in, but just never got around to. Well, now I’m around to it! Which made it feel like the perfect pick to check out some of the many covers it’s had from 30+ years of popularity.

The Cover I Know

In my college library basement, I stumbled on the “Amy Tan” section. Loved the gorgeous simple covers, already knew I’d probably love her works. Finally reading it now. ^.^

2016 Russian: A Takeover / Merge

I adore this cover interpretation. The Chinese dragon wrapping around the Statue of Liberty, such an American symbol. I love the way it shows the cultures blending, as the fire from the torch becomes like the dragon’s fire, and I just absolutely love it entirely.

2010 Chinese: Intimate

You can probably guess that there were multiple Chinese editions of this, given the whole point of the content about mother-daughter relationships of Chinese immigrants to the US. I love that they chose to show the intimacy with the cover of two women hugging on the San Francisco backdrop. And, of course, plenty of red and gold. ^.^

2011 Vietnamese: A little hectic

There’s a lot going on in this cover, and I don’t understand it all yet. Maybe once I finish the book, I’ll know why there’s a parrot in the mix, for example. But still, I somehow love the aesthetic here. It feels fitting – a jumble of everything they’ve gone through.

1992 German: Daughters of Heaven

The name of the book is conspicuously different in this edition, translating in English to “Daughters of Heaven,” and oh man do I love that title too. It feels lofty and hopeful and bright, and despite the mix of pain in the stories, I like to think that hope is the overall takeaway.

1994 Persian: Blurry dragon

Sorry, the only cover of this one I could find was much smaller than the rest, so it’s a bit blurry. But I had to include it, because it’s so different from the rest and so striking. This one I feel really embraced the Chinese aesthetic with the design of it, and honestly it’s just gorgeous besides.

1990 Japanese: a mystery

You probably can’t read this, but the subtitle for the English translation on the cover says “The mystery of the mother daughter bond” which feels like something Amy Tan (and her mother) would be proud to see. It’s exactly right, despite the otherwise fairly plain cover.

2001 Italian: kind of lost

I can’t really tell what’s going on here, in the vibrant smush of color. I would believe you if you said this had dragons, wolves, a crowd of people, fireworks, or nothing at all. But still – I like it. ^.^

2007 Spanish: Refined

This feels so elegant to me. I love the silhouette, the muted colors, the simplicity. With so little, everything takes on so much more importance.

1990 Norwegian: a book of the gods

That’s what this looks like to me. Not a novel of female relationships, but a worn copy of scripture or rituals. It’s so austere, with the primarily black coloring and the embossed golden dragon. It just feels important.

2013 Romanian Romantics

Like I said, I’m not very far into the book yet, but this cover looks more like a soap opera or a love story. As far as I know, this is a love story, but of mothers and daughters rather than lovers. I’m curious about the relationship displayed on the cover: what part of the story does it refer to? Is the man loving or possessive in his grip? Hmmm.

Which suits it best?

I’ll have to make my decision on which cover I think suits the story best after I finish it. So many of the covers are gorgeous though. I’m sure Tan was honored just to have her novel become so successful, but to also have it imagined so richly to present to readers makes it even sweeter.


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

4 thoughts on “Cover Roulette: The Joy Luck Club

  1. Oooh the Russian one is pretty neat, and I also like the women hugging on the Chinese one. All the others are kinda meh to me. My edition is the 90s paperback (and it looks it) with dragons on the sides, also not terrible.


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