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.
If you have a choice of other Amy Tan novels, I would recommend starting there.
Lately, I've read a few book like this where there are parts of the book I really enjoy and others that just drag on and could be either cut down considerably or eliminated entirely. Over ally, an interesting read, but you found have to hang in there and I did end up skipping parts.
Probably not...because I'm sure the writing style is the same, and the book wasn't that great.
Better narration, faster pace to the story line, leave out details about child sex trafficking, slavery and rape. We don't need details on how to be a courtesan. Crudeness and vulgar language add nothing to the novel.
I am not sure.
I usually love Amy Tan but this book is awful. I can't even get through it. I am going to ask for a refund.
I felt like I was hearing stories from my mother, and her mother, and the generations before, as passed down through oral tradition. Full of insight, humor, skepticism, shock, and unabashedly misplaced love. Yes, this is a story of generations of strong women, but it's also a series of love stories, of families loved and lost, of heartbreak and longing, of political ambition and cunning.
Multi-generational narration. There was only one segment toward the end that did not "fit" with where I thought we were in the characters - but I got accustomed to it. The change in narrative voices is a wonderful addition as each character in the generational lineage tells her parts of the interweaving stories.
Yes, there were some tears!
This was long and at times I just simply picked up another book for variety - but I never regretted coming back to hear more of the stories. No regrets. Some books you just can't finish because they go on and on, even though they're good - this was NOT like that. It was long, but it was also a very, very good book.
For starters, I didn't like the changes in the narrator of the story, for one. The first one happened @ 5 hours and it was somewhat jarring and a disturbing change from the first narrator. The story was long and boring and wasn't worth the time I spent on it. How many tragedies can you inflict on one person before it borders on fantasy? It was just plain horrible!
I probably won't read Amy Tan any longer.
I am a huge fan of Amy Tan but this story was not up to her usual standard. I missed her beautiful descriptions and discussion of the culture juxtaposed against historical events. The story was trapped inside a house that could have been in anywhere USA as I never really got a sense of Shanghai.
Valley of Amazement was a disappointment. I felt the story was predictable - but mainly I found Tan's dependence on semi-pornographic description quickly became boring. Tan is a much better writer than this and could have made the story compelling without all the blatant sexual description that went on long after it was necessary to add to the story. It is hard, I am sure, to compete in a world full of books of this genre but Tan has the talent and she should use it.
Yes, and as to the narration, it was well done.
Tan writes beautifully even when not presenting a compelling story line.
The story of Violet, I felt as if I was always with her...
The whole story, and the ending was as it should be...
No but they were all great
Some laughs but some crying also..
Great listen, the story was wonderful you were in 19th century China, and what it was like for some women at that time... Definitely recommend it.!!
The voices of the narrators and how they played out each character
It was heart breaking and Triumphant
When the character Magic Gourd who tried to warn Violet about her poet husband. It's mindful to always consider those who are more experienced in life. Sometimes they see what youthful ideals miss.
Provocative, Emotional and Breath Taking...
I didn't want the story to end
Serious about gadgets
The same quality of writing as the author's previous books.
Create characters I could care about, and minimize the soft porn of the "how to be a courtesan manual" that went ON and ON.
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.
If you liked previous Amy Tan books, this is not for you.
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.
Report Inappropriate Content