We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
The Valley of Amazement | [Amy Tan]

The Valley of Amazement

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.
Regular Price:$27.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (1465 )
5 star
 (501)
4 star
 (471)
3 star
 (288)
2 star
 (114)
1 star
 (91)
Overall
3.7 (1314 )
5 star
 (448)
4 star
 (394)
3 star
 (253)
2 star
 (110)
1 star
 (109)
Story
4.1 (1295 )
5 star
 (569)
4 star
 (417)
3 star
 (182)
2 star
 (67)
1 star
 (60)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Cindy Cooke Kalamazoo, MI United States 02-14-14
    Cindy Cooke Kalamazoo, MI United States 02-14-14

    Serious about gadgets

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Can't believe Amy Tan wrote this awful book"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The same quality of writing as the author's previous books.


    What could Amy Tan have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Create characters I could care about, and minimize the soft porn of the "how to be a courtesan manual" that went ON and ON.


    Would you be willing to try another one of the narrators’s performances?

    Yes


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Valley of Amazement?

    I quit during the "how to be a courtesan" lessons. I really can't say I enjoyed any part of the book up to that point, but the combination of the soft porn read in the droning voice of the narrator put me over the top.


    Any additional comments?

    If you liked previous Amy Tan books, this is not for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Chesapeake Beach, MD United States 02-13-14
    Dawn Chesapeake Beach, MD United States 02-13-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointed"

    My favorite Amy Tan book is Saving Fish From Drowning. I was completely disappointed with this book. The main character, Violet is intolerable throughout the novel. I was hoping for some redeeming quality at the end but it never came. There are almost no likable characters throughout the entire novel. I had no emotional attachment to any of the characters and therefore did not enjoy any of the details of the period or the places.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MissGrace 02-06-14
    MissGrace 02-06-14

    Gracie

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "TMI"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Way too wordy-- lots of needless boring information that took away from a good story.


    Would you recommend The Valley of Amazement to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. Blah blah blah....


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Loved the narrators !


    Was The Valley of Amazement worth the listening time?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    This will be remembered as my LEAST favorite of AmyTan's books. I give the rest of her stories an A++

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philharmonic United States 02-01-14
    Philharmonic United States 02-01-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it!!"
    Any additional comments?

    This is one of those books that you get caught up in, and can't put down until you've finished the book. You just want the story to keep going and going.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen 01-29-14
    Helen 01-29-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Engrossing book"
    Would you listen to The Valley of Amazement again? Why?

    I am quite surprised at the number of negative reviews written by other readers. I am a reader who is willing to suspend belief, to enjoy a good story even if not everything in the plot is realistic. So, I very much enjoyed listening to The Valley of Amazement.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Valley of Amazement?

    One of the most memorable moments is when little Flora is separated from her mother Violet just as Violet had been separated years before from her mother.


    What three words best describe the narrators’s voice?

    I don't think the narrators' voices were memorable. At times they were annoying.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Valley of Amazement and why?

    Two characters were memorable. The main character Violet, whom we watch grow from a child in her mother's courtesan house to a middle-aged woman, is the one a reader remembers most. Violet's sometimes improbable adventures make up the bulk of the novel. Flora also became a memorable character at the end as she told of her search for identity. I did not find Magic Gourd memorable; she was too much a convenience for Amy Tan fill in what she wanted to say.


    Any additional comments?

    Amy Tan paints a picture of life in Shanghai at the beginning of the 20th century. We see what possibilities there were for women - both Chinese and "foreign." To a lesser extent we see the position of businessmen in Shanghai society of the time. As in all of Amy Tan's writing, the descriptions are vivid. No one can write of the complexities of a mother-daughter relationship as well as Amy Tan, and she does not disappoint in this novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita 01-28-14
    Anita 01-28-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The plot. Too much narrative about how to be a proper courtesan.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    The narrators performances were good.


    Was The Valley of Amazement worth the listening time?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Ho-hum…too much like Memoirs of a Geisha - the Chinese version of the story. There must be more to write about re historical Chinese women than their lives as courtesans. I really liked Amy Tan's first book but there is very little that is original in this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denis A. 01-27-14
    Denis A. 01-27-14 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it!!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The audio narration added to the story, especially that of Magic Gourd.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Valley of Amazement?

    See below


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Favorite scene is when Magic Gourd sticks up and tries to protect Violet as she is beaten by Perpetual.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    not for the weak


    Any additional comments?

    Loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Reiser SAN ANSELMO, CA, United States 01-22-14
    Susan Reiser SAN ANSELMO, CA, United States 01-22-14 Member Since 2011

    SKR

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    201
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "the worst"

    If you like to have books read to you as if one is reading down a bullet list,this may be for you. What a disappointment. Of course, as many ,I have read Joy Luck Club and her subsequent novels but I was so utterly disappointed,I actually could not listen after Chapter 4. Maybe it needs a better chance, but I felt I was listening to a fourth grader's outline of a story.
    There is no detailed description of Shang hai which is a given but no description of any characters inner thoughts, no inner thoughts on anything. i could not feel I was in the writers mind or imagination which toime is the whole magic of books. I was so bored and actually frustrated,I stopped and went back to a story I had already heard. It was that horrible.
    I do not remember huge love of Tan's books after JLC but they were good.
    Sorry to say, this is the first of over 200 books that I could not get through. Usually I feel, I paid for this ,I can listen. With this book,I could not even do that.
    Total disappointment and a true waste of a credit! Beware.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noelle R Brodeur NM 01-22-14
    Noelle R Brodeur NM 01-22-14

    Noelle

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent book, well-researched period piece."
    If you could sum up The Valley of Amazement in three words, what would they be?

    Loved this book!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed the voices and the accents seemed just right. Excellent descriptions and detail.
    Great portrayal of China during this period in history. Gave real feeling of life in a "House of Pleasure", with interactions of the women, their feelings about the male visitors, but also the venality of the characters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sandra GATLINBURG, TN, United States 01-19-14
    sandra GATLINBURG, TN, United States 01-19-14 Member Since 2012

    Tell us about yourself!

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Filled with mind numbing details"
    Would you try another book from Amy Tan and/or the narrators?

    Normally, I enjoy Amy Tan books so I was pleased to see a new one out. At times the minutia is more than I could bear so I had to fast forward to get to somethinf interesting. I now know WAY more than I want to know about the facial expressions, body movements and wooing habits of a courtesan.


    Has The Valley of Amazement turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Perhaps when Viloet, Magic Gourd and their "sister" escape from their crazy husband. They showed real resourcefulness and courage.


    Was The Valley of Amazement worth the listening time?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I would say this book would have been better, half as long.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 71-80 of 104 results PREVIOUS178911NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.