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The Valley of Amazement Audiobook

The Valley of Amazement

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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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (2655 )
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  •  
    Amazon Customer KENT, WA, United States 12-10-13
    Amazon Customer KENT, WA, United States 12-10-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Loved this book!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Valley of Amazement the most enjoyable?

    The story was wonderful. I was sucked into the storyline almost instantly. I love the relationships between the characters, they were so intricate and not connected in a typical way. I loved that I was on the edge of my seat and could really feel for the characters.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I don't have a particular favorite character, I loved them all. Although when the book switches to the different perspectives of the characters, it really gives you a better sense of how the character is feeling and why they are making certain decisions.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have listened to all of the other available books by Amy Tan and I've liked them all, when she does the narrating herself, it does seem a little flat, but the story makes up for it. Plus, I like that I get to hear the author tell the story with her own voice in parts, knowing that she wrote the story.


    Any additional comments?

    This book has gotten some really unfair reviews, and I couldn't disagree more. This is my far my favorite Amy Tan book so far. I'm hoping that she does another book that is a sequel or something similar.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liz 12-09-13
    Liz 12-09-13

    I love getting lost in a good story.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amy Tan does it again"

    As with all Amy's books, it's as hard to keep reading as to put down. The life of Asian women in Amy's stories are so hard. The book is full of interesting twists and turns.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 05-21-17
    Linda 05-21-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Valley of amazement"

    The book Valley of Amazement long but spellbinding. The narrators were excellent. They kept my attention.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beccabug 05-16-17
    Beccabug 05-16-17 Member Since 2015
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    "long but worth it!"

    long but worth it, the detail was amazing...it was a Chinese equivalent of "Memoirs of a Geisha"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Ann 05-08-17
    Beth Ann 05-08-17 Member Since 2016
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    4
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    "Valley of Amazement"

    Amy Tan never let's me down. This period piece was well researched. The characters are well developed. The voices of Golden Dove and Magic Gourd would have spoken aloud in print. The audio execution is masterfully entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Calliope 04-10-17
    Calliope 04-10-17
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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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tim Whitton 04-08-17
    tim Whitton 04-08-17 Member Since 2014
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    5
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    "An Amazing Immersion in Culture"

    Like in Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan has created believable and deep female characters who become the readers' friends. The deep understanding of Chinese culture conveyed to the reader through setting and details makes the weaving of this novel realistic.

    The flaw was in two sections which easily could/should have been left out. The courtesan's etiquette was dry and boring beyond words. I nearly stopped listening at this point. Thankfully I persisted because I had to know more about the fate of the character.
    While a long book, it is worth the time learn of the times and relationships of three generations of women lost between two cultures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim 04-06-17
    Jim 04-06-17 Member Since 2009
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    "Another fabulous story by Amy Tan"

    I love the twists & turns of this book & how she lets you into the minds of all the important characters. She also teaches the asian culture / history deftly without the reader realizing they have been educated. I loved this read, i hate when a book ends, this was no exception.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. SAIDI Fort Lauderdale, Florida 04-02-17
    C. SAIDI Fort Lauderdale, Florida 04-02-17 Member Since 2015

    Desperately seeking bookcase

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "3.5 Stars"

    Having read Joy Luck Club before, I expected a lot from this book. After listening to the ausio, I felt this was the same book with a multitude of stories. In fact, it was too many stories compiled into one. In doing that, I don't believe she developed the characters as well as the stories behind the characters. It would have been nice to know perspective behind the men in the stories as opposed to a one-sided perspective. In addition, the person playing Violet didn't translate as well as the other voice characters. Overall, this was an okay book. It was reminiscent of Joy Luck Club and I enjoyed it, but not to an extent of a great literary piece.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather 03-26-17
    Heather 03-26-17 Member Since 2014
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    7
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    "Good story"

    Long in spots but over all a great story. It was similar to Memoirs of a Geisha. Both great reads!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Rebecca
    London, United Kingdom
    12/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Draws you from word to word, you can't stop."
    Would you listen to The Valley of Amazement again? Why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Violet, poor damaged violet who started her life with such a burden and never stopped fitting back.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    When Golden lotus laid out the rules of a courtesan.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When they took little flora away.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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