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Author of The Joy Luck Club will lecture in Jorgensen Auditorium (Released: 1/2/97)

by Luis Mocete, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, will lecture at the University of Connecticut's Jorgensen Auditorium at 8 p.m. Feb. 4, a makeup for a show postponed in November.

"Her life experiences as a young woman and how she relates to people come out very clearly in her books," said Angela Rola, director of UConn's Asian American Cultural Center. "She talks about issues that everybody has to face in their life. She talks about mother and daughter relationships in Joy Luck and the issue of love in The Hundred Secret Senses. No matter who you are, you don't have to be Chinese, you don't have to be Asian-American to understand what she is trying to say."

Tan, born in Oakland, Calif., moved to Europe with her mother at age 14 when her father and older brother both died of brain tumors. Her father immigrated to America from China in 1947 and worked for the United States Information Service after World War II. Her mother came to the United States in 1949, shortly before the Communists seized control of Shanghai.

While Tan was growing up, her parents wanted her to be a neurosurgeon. That was the path she was taking in college until Tan decided to switch her major from pre-med to English. Her decision put a strain on her relationship with her mother, who did not speak to Tan for six months.

"Immigrant parents come to America with the idea that they're going to lose ground, economically and socially, but that their children will eventually benefit from what they've done," Tan said in an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine. "My mother felt that in spite of all the opportunities I was given, I'd picked the bottom of the pile professionally."

Like all good fairy tales, Joy Luck had an improbable start. Tan was a freelance business writer whose only encounters of the fictional kind were vacation letters that she had written to friends. Tan tried to create short stories based on things that happened while she was away.

In 1985, Tan decided to force herself to write a short story within a year. She created "Endgame," a tale about a precocious girl chess champion and her strong-willed Chinese mother, which was published by FM magazine and Seventeen.

After this success Tan continued her writing, and eventually produced The Joy Luck Club, a tale of four mothers, all Chinese immigrants with traumatic pasts, and their Americanized daughters. Tan's first novel was on the best-seller list and earned $1.2 million in paperback sales.

Her latest book, The Hundred Secret Senses, is a story of two sisters. Tan unfolds a series of family secrets that question the connections between chance and fate, memory and imagination, life and death.

Tan's lecture is sponsored by the Asian American Cultural Center, the Student Union Board of Governors, the School of Fine Arts, Jorgensen Auditorium and the UConn Co-op. Tickets are $3 for undergraduates, $5 for graduate students, faculty and staff and $8 for the public.

Tickets purchased for Tan's lecture scheduled for Nov. 25 will be honored on the new date.

Tickets can be purchased at the Jorgensen Box Office by calling (860) 486-4226 or by calling ProTix at (860) 422-0000.