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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 (2976 )
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4.2 (2666 )
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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
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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
    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
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-13-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Amy Tan is amazing."

    The Valley of Amazement was a great listen. Years ago I had read the Joy Luck Club and was fairly certain the author could not have written anything as beautiful as that. I was wrong. This was so rich and vivid that you could reach out and touch the characters. # AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW sweepstakes Entry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lu 11-08-17
    Lu 11-08-17 Member Since 2017
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    "memorizing"

    a wonderful enticing, vivid read! I listened every chance I could, addicting truly! Amy tan does it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abby 11-07-17
    Abby 11-07-17 Member Since 2016
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    8
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    "Mostly good"

    I found this book entertaining, but i think that there was a part of the story that just didn’t belong, and made it feel like it dragged a bit. Overall, I enjoyed it- but I think it could have used one more big edit!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda E. Gheysen 11-07-17 Member Since 2008
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    4
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    "Amy's Amazing Mix of History and Fiction"

    I have always enjoyed Ms. Tan's mix of history, culture and fiction. I am learning about Chinese culture as I am entertained. Learning how a courtesan was trained and respected in the ancient culture was very interesting. The twists and changes of the characters made for many surprises. It was just enjoyable to listen to!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kellie Boyle Arlington, VA 11-01-17
    Kellie Boyle Arlington, VA 11-01-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Barely a single likable character / awful audio"

    This was strangely captivating, considering absolutely NONE of the major characters were likable. And the audio performers made them even less so - from the main character whose tone never strayed from that of a spoiled, petulant child (even amidst tragedy) to her father who sounded like the same child lowering her voice and badly feigning an English accent. Spare yourself the last three hours - there’s neither drama nor intrigue, just a deadly denouement of whining and arguing between unsympathetic characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 11-01-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Not what I expected from Tan"

    I have read almost all of Amy Tan’s books and loved each one. This one, not so much. Many parts of the story were oh so predictable. I found myself thinking, “Ok, now it’s time for a tragedy. Now it’s time for things to be fabulous again.” I also could have done without the explicit details of Violet’s courtesan encounters. All in all, this novel was a disappointment for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle A Chavez 10-16-17 Member Since 2017
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    3
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    "Entertaining but I could have lived without this "

    I found it entertaining but found myself bored at many points in the audiobook. If I was actually reading it, I probably would have put it down and never finished it. I enjoyed the character development and the bond between Violet and Magic Cloud but the story telling was just not there. I mainly finished it just to see what the next horrible thing was going to happen to them.

    Don't get me wrong, I love historical pieces of Asian Culture and have read all of Gail Tsukiyama and Lisa See's novels and was looking for other authors of the same style which brought me to Amy Tan. Hopefully I just picked the wrong book to start off on for Amy Tan and I will another one in hopes of something better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen A. Batchelder 10-16-17 Member Since 2016
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    2
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    "Worth reading"

    Amy Tan draws the reader right into the land of China. One feels what she felt. Great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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