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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.

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3.9 (2921 )
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  •  
    Lana Lee Plum PORTLAND, OR, US 08-29-17
    Lana Lee Plum PORTLAND, OR, US 08-29-17 Member Since 2016
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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
  •  
    K. FRENCH 01-08-17
    K. FRENCH 01-08-17 Member Since 2015
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    14
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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
  •  
    Danni 09-16-16
    Danni 09-16-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Helen A. Batchelder 10-18-17 Member Since 2016
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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
  •  
    Michelle A Chavez 10-16-17 Member Since 2017
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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
  •  
    Debbie Krueger 10-09-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Stultifying"

    I have read several of Amy Tan's books and enjoyed them. This one was a big disappointment. The readers sounded bored, and no wonder; the plot was thin and overloaded with uninteresting, unnecessary, and repetitious details, and the characters were flat. After listening for almost 6 hours I quit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth C. Paulk 10-04-17 Member Since 2016
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    Story
    "Too long"

    The story was very good, but there was way too much detail in so much of it. It became very boring in many places throughout the book. Also, it was easy to guess what was going to ensue after the heroine made stupid, unrealistic mistakes time and time again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 09-16-17
    09-16-17 Member Since 2015
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    "A chore "

    Valley of amazement was a disappointment. It was poorly constructed, not believable and had unlikable characters. I kept waiting for it to get better. It didn't.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-14-17 Member Since 2017
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    "A beautiful story"

    I found this book very moving...I did find I was overwhelmed with details at some points, but I cared about Violet and her mother and daughter. Also I enjoyed the glimpses of a different world..Shanghai in the early part of the twentieth century. Very well read. 😀💖

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-14-17
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    5
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    "Emotional and heartbreaking "

    This was a great story of three generations of women and the struggles of not only being a woman in 1900 China, but also not being 100% Chinese. These women are strong and their bonds of friendship identify them and who their true family is.

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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