New York Times best-selling author of The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan brings us her latest novel: a sweeping, evocative epic of two women's intertwined fates and their search for identity - from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village
Shanghai, 1912. Violet Minturn is the privileged daughter of the American madam of the city's most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, Violet is separated from her mother in a cruel act of chicanery and forced to become a "virgin courtesan." Half-Chinese and half-American, Violet grapples with her place in the worlds of East and West - until she is able to merge her two halves, empowering her to become a shrewd courtesan who excels in the business of seduction and illusion, though she still struggles to understand who she is.
Back in 1897 San Francisco, Violet's mother, Lucia, chooses a disastrous course as a sixteen-year-old, when her infatuation with a Chinese painter compels her to leave her home for Shanghai. Shocked by her lover's adherence to Chinese traditions, she is unable to change him, despite her unending American ingenuity.
Fueled by betrayals, both women refuse to submit to fate and societal expectations, persisting in their quests to recover what was taken from them: respect; a secure future; and, most poignantly, love from their parents, lovers, and children. To reclaim their lives, they take separate journeys - to a backwater hamlet in China, the wealthy environs of the Hudson River Valley, and, ultimately, the unknown areas of their hearts, where they discover what remains after their many failings to love and be loved. Spanning more than forty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement transports listeners from the collapse of China's last imperial dynasty to the beginning of the Republic and recaptures the lost world of old Shanghai through the inner workings of courtesan houses and the lives of the foreigners living in the International Settlement, both erased by World War II. A deeply evocative narrative of the profound connections between mothers and daughters, imbued with Tan's characteristic insight and humor, The Valley of Amazement conjures a story of inherited trauma, desire and deception, and the power and obstinacy of love.
©2013 Amy Tan (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
Amy Tan has been a favorite over the years for her colorful, misguided characters, the interplay between generations of women, the triumph over pain and abuse.
This book has the abuse and the misguided, but everything is so flat that I simply wanted to plug my ears with cotton and not hear anything for a while. Repetition abounds, wondering about whether the mother betrayed her daughter. How could a writer with Tan's skills come up with something on a topic like this and have it be so hopelessly boring?
Diane Setterfield, Bellman & Black
all of them
Exotic. Entertaining. Consuming. -- Amy Tan's gift for exposing and explaining human nature burns brightly in this book. As an American, I love reading these books to discover more about Chinese culture. Realizing how much we have in common, and how different our cultures are is always a treat, and an education. Amy's descriptions of even the most minute detail or feeling is artfully crafted with the main character, Violet. I always feel like a fly on the wall and can see the rooms these characters sit in as I glide through each pages. If you've never read an Amy Tan novel, you have truly missed out on a masterwork.
It is generic, and sad. I know that Any is a talented writer but she didn't use any of her talent in this book. No imagination, to wit, or charm.
Different narrators, get rid of the Disney chick, and wake Amy up before she reads.
Sadly, the unlikeable characters and their disturbing and unending stories make for a tough go.
I was curious about what new material Amy Tan could mine. I persisted in reading simply to see if she could turn around this unlikeable set of characters and conditions into an interesting and plausible story. Alas, it was not to be.
This was a very disappointing production in comparison to the great work she has done previously.
I, too, bought this book, based on the familiarity of Amy Tan's appearance on the book shelves for many years. This book left me sorely wondering why I bothered. Tedious, pointless drivel that goes on and on about descriptions and points I'd rather not continue to delve deeper into, yet it does. I am a little more half-way through the book and sadly, it hasn't improved. Fantastic idea, poor execution. I will give Amy Tan another go with one of her others, but if you are considering this one, I would suggest to move on.
It would have to be a different book. This was a repetitive, unhinged dirty book. I cannot imagine why Amy Tan wrote in such lurid descriptions based on a totally disjointed and unbelievable (as in outside the realm of reason) story.
It has turned me off to books by Amy Tan. I cannot believe she wrote this trashy novel.
The performance was ok. Some of the changes between characters among the women were blurred.
All of them.
Don't bother to read this book. I fast forwarded to the end.
If the author had been anyone other than Amy Tan I wouldn't haven't listened as long as I did. The characters are undeveloped and uninteresting, and the plot--such as it is--simply struggles along. I kept wondering if it was the writing or the narration that was the problem, and then came to the sad conclusion that it was both. Amy Tan--did you listen to the narrators? And if so, didn't you have the ability to ask for replacements?
This is a second-rate bodice buster that goes on far too long. My recommendation: Skip it. Try ANY of Tan's other books. She's a talented and moving writer--something just went terribly wrong with this book.
WOW when did Amy Tan start writing porn?
I wait and wait for her next book BUT this one was not worth the wait! So disappointing.
Graphic, gratuitous sex all through the book.
Disappointment for me. Sadness for her.
Please give more of a preview on books when trying to sell to us!
I have loved Amy Tan's books in the past but this one is not one that I would recommend to anyone, I almost stopped listening several times. The plot is totally predictable, the women characters flighty, impulsive and down right stupid! The storytelling was problematic, the shift in timeline three-quarters of the way through the book was very confusing, keeping the tale running in a straight line might have helped keep all the characters straight. And what in the world ever became of Teddy?
Steven King's new book.
I am inspired to take Amy Tan off of my list of favorite authors.
I had to stop listening when the molestation of a fifteen year old was graphic. It was graphic and if it were on film, the makers of the film and/or possessors of the film would be arrested for child pornography. I get that it is a period piece and depicting other cultures but it is still inappropriate and immoral to glamorize this in an erotic manner.
I will not purchase another Amy Tan book.
It is sad to see the decline in this authors writing.
"Draws you from word to word, you can't stop."
I always find that the second read or listen of any good book gleans much more from it, the first time is all about the plot, the second time I get sub themes, poetry in the prose and other gems.
Violet, poor damaged violet who started her life with such a burden and never stopped fitting back.
When Golden lotus laid out the rules of a courtesan.
When they took little flora away.
This book,like all Amy Tan's novels does not disappoint. It is not great literature, its a compelling read. I always like a good ponder on the sins of the Fathers.
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