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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.

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Not the usual Amy Tan

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I found this book to be slow and tedious. Not the usual quality from Amy Tan.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A green eyed Chinese girl

The story of a strong minded girl who's American mother had moved to China to marry the Chinese man who was the father of her child. In the early 1900's a mixed marriage was not accepted by society. To survive in Shanghai as a single woman was difficult but her American spirit and stubborn spirit she survived running a men's club in the American enclave of Shanghai. The story is told through the eyes of her daughter and the many experiences she had being a mixed breed. It was fascinating how she learned about life and explored the many types of love women and men experience in their lives. Excellent story and narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Tedious and not up to Amy Tan standard

This story is a "beach read" gone on too long. Silly characters -- very two dimensional and simplistic. . Narration is in kilted Asian accent that diminishes the story.
Not up to Amy Tan usual high standard.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Painfully long narrative.

Struggled to finish this epic novel, which was a lot like Lu Shing's paintings - uninspiring, flat and lacking in perspective. Cant imagine it is from the author of Joy Luck club! Performing voices were equally inspiring and expressionless.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Painful!

Thought it would never end. Monotonous, repetitive of same situations happening over and over again. I had to make myself finish because I endured the first 4 chapters. Such a waste of time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A disappointment

I bought this book because I enjoyed the Joy Luck Club. Sadly, the story in this book is trite and predictable. I cringed at the poor choices made over and over. The characters were not fully rounded and the writing felt flat. I gave it 1 star only because it drew me in just enough (like a soap opera) that I was curious how it would all end. I do not recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I can't believe how awful

I love Amy Tan, or at least I did. it has been painful to get through much of this book. I have finally given up. It's violent, crass, and after 14 chapters, pointless. I've struggled to find a point, a theme. Not worth it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Can't believe this is Amy Tan

Too long, unlikable main character, whiney narrator,unbelievable characters and plot,easy to skip over large portions

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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too long

Not up to her usual standard. Chapter 6 should be removed - too much information. Repetitious in places. I was relieved when I finished it. Disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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All I can say is Wow

This was a fantastic story. Told though different perspectives and spanning time and space. Amy Tan is one of my favorite authors. I have been a fan of hers since the Joy Luck Club. However, this is a much darker story. The characters were very complex and interesting. I never would have guessed that the story would go in the direction that it did but I was not disappointed. I have to admit that it started off really slow for me. But once I committed to finishing it, I could not stop listening. I must mention trigger warning for Sexual abuse, domestic violence, infidelity rape, mutilation and sex slavery.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful