The Valley of Amazement

The Valley of Amazement

3.8 215
by Amy Tan
     
 

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Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement is a sweeping, evocative epic of two women’s intertwined fates and their search for identity, that moves from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village.

Spanning more than forty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement resurrects

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Overview

Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement is a sweeping, evocative epic of two women’s intertwined fates and their search for identity, that moves from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village.

Spanning more than forty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement resurrects pivotal episodes in history: from the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty, to the rise of the Republic, the explosive growth of lucrative foreign trade and anti-foreign sentiment, to the inner workings of courtesan houses and the lives of the foreign “Shanghailanders” living in the International Settlement, both erased by World War II.

A deeply evocative narrative about the profound connections between mothers and daughters, The Valley of Amazement returns readers to the compelling territory of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. With her characteristic insight and humor, she conjures a story of inherited trauma, desire and deception, and the power and stubbornness of love.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist (starred review)
“Tan’s prodigious, sumptuously descriptive, historically grounded, sexually candid, and elaborately plotted novel counters violence, exploitation, betrayal, and tragic cultural divides with beauty, wit, and transcendent friendship between women.”
Newsday (Fall Preview)
The author of The Joy Luck Club and The Hundred Secret Senses can deliver a sweeping family saga like nobody else.”
Lisa See
“It’s been a long eight years since Amy Tan’s last novel, but THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT proves that good things--breathtaking things--come to those who wait. [...] It’s wonderful to be back in Amy’s magical and amazing world.”
Mary Pearson
“Amy Tan is one of our blackest-belted scriveners, and this is her masterwork.”
Real Simple
Fans of Tan’s previous works (including The Joy Luck Club) will rejoice when they get their hands on this book.
Romantic Times
“Tan’s beautiful, seamless prose presents fans with a true sense of time and place, catching them up in the heartbreaking tragedy of the plot… Tan’s creativity is always a force, and in this epic tale her ability to captivate shines.”
Financial Times
“[Tan] is a gifted storyteller… This is one writer’s particular idiom and vision of the world - and within that she offers us a rich cast of characters who both repel and compel.”
More magazine
“[Tan’s] fans will appreciate the book’s multigenerational narrative and compelling look at a society in which men held the power but women gave each other strength.”
New York Times Book Review
“Here are strong women struggling to survive all that life has thrown at them, created by a writer skilled at evoking the roil of emotions and made exploits they experience when they follow their hearts.”
People
“Fans will recognize signature Tan themes: mother-daughter relationships, clashes between cultures… threads of hmor and emotional insight make Violet’s struggle to survive, and ultimately forgive, a journey worth sharing.”
Entertainment Weekly
“[Tan] still sweeps you up in the wildly changing fortunes of a whip-smart courtesan.”
Mary Karr
“Amy Tan is one of our blackest-belted scriveners, and this is her masterwork.”
USA Today
“This is an Amy Tan novel, so its heart is the push-pull of mother-daughter relationships… The journey with Violet, her mother and her daughter is one of separate winding paths, each woman struggling to reach the light.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“In her new novel, Tan ditches her magic realist fugues and enters a brutal landscape of Shanghai courtesans, exploring it with new depths of tenderness and pain.”
Parade
“Amy Tan’s latest novel is an engrossing, multigenerational saga....grounded by Tan’s ability to bring tragically flawed characters and exotic locales to vivid life.”
Associated Press Staff
“Tan brings to life a world with which few are familiar. And it’s fascinating. Her descriptions of the countryside, of the houses, of the lifestyle and the customers are well-drawn and multi-layered. Her characters are brought to life as three-dimensional, complicated people.”
NPR
“[THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT is] akin to her earlier work, yet more sophisticated, and a fine reminder that Amy Tan is herself a master of illusion, and one of the best storytellers around.”
St. Paul Pioneer Press
“Amy tan creates another stunning portrait of mothers and daughters.”
New York Daily News
“[Tan is] an accomplished storyteller… the underlying appeal of this book is the weave she makes of the three generations of Minturn women…struggling to accept their fate and each other.”
Shelf Awareness
“A feast of a novel… Tan deftly draws the reader along as she explores the nature of identity, the joys and pitfalls of love, the ripple effects of the choices we make and the role of fate in our lives.”
the Oprah Magazine O
“With THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT (Ecco), Amy Tan reaffirms her reputation as a master storyteller, creating intriguing settings, unforgettable characters, and twisty plotlines.”
San Francisco Book Review
“THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT is an engrossing read that effortlessly draws you in and captures both the sweet taste of acceptance and the bitter taste of disappointment and resentment with an almost painful accuracy… a compelling and emotional read.”
Boston Globe
“She has created such an enticing portrait of Shanghai that she makes us nostalgic for a city we can never know.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Amy Tan’s new novel THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT is a long and luxurious read, offering riches on almost every page… Tan laces her story with colorful characters… a little comedy, enough tragedy, and plenty of passion and historical detail.”
Tampa Bay Times
“[THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT] combines vivid historical details and epic sweep across several decades and two continents with intimate portraits of flawed but engaging women whose resourcefulness and courage are sometimes astounding.”
Bustle
“Vivid, compassionate, and expertly done… Tan has crafted characters so realistic they seem to breathe and a tense world that will keep readers on the edge of their seats for all 589 pages.”
Miami Herald
“Tan hasn’t written a new novel in eight years but THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT was worth the wait.”
Seattle Times
“Tan has created a vivid work of literature, full of deftly drawn and colorful characters, exploring the idea that in a world of grief and cruelty, where a woman’s fate is not hers - or her mother’s - to determine, what she can keep is her self.”
Northwest Asian Weekly
“The deeply evocative narrative about the profound connections between mothers and daughters will return readers to the compelling territory of Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. Tan’s characteristic insight and humor conjures a story of “inherited trauma, desire and deception, and the power and stubbornness of love.”
Good Housekeeping (online)
“Fans who’ve waited eight years for a new novel by Tan (The Joy Luck Club) can look forward to a lengthy, decades-long soak in Violet’s sentimental and erotic education.”
International Examiner
“Those who have been waiting for Tan’s novel, her first in eight years, will not be disappointed.”
The New York Times Book Review - Lesley Downer
Written in Tan's characteristically economical and matter-of-fact style, The Valley of Amazement is filled with memorably idiosyncratic characters. And its array of colorful multilayered stories is given further depth by Tan's affecting depictions of mothers and daughters. Here are strong women struggling to survive all that life has to throw at them, created by a writer skilled at evoking the roil of emotions and mad exploits they experience when they follow their hearts.
Publishers Weekly
In her first novel since 2005’s Saving Fish from Drowning, Tan again explores the complex relationships between mothers and daughters, control and submission, tradition and new beginnings. Jumping from bustling Shanghai to an isolated village in rural China to San Francisco at the turn of the 19th century, the epic story follows three generations of women pulled apart by outside forces. The main focus is Violet, once a virgin courtesan in one of the most reputable houses in Shanghai, who faces a series of crippling setbacks: the death of her first husband from Spanish influenza, a second marriage to an abusive scam artist, and the abduction of her infant daughter, Flora. In a series of flashbacks toward the book’s end, Violet’s American mother, Lulu, is revealed to have suffered a similar and equally disturbing fate two decades earlier. The choice to cram the truth behind Lulu’s sexually promiscuous adolescence in San Francisco, her life as a madam in Shanghai, and Violet’s reunion with a grown Flora into the last 150 pages makes the story unnecessarily confusing. Nonetheless, Tan’s mastery of the lavish world of courtesans and Chinese customs continues to transport. Agent: Sandra Dijkstra, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. (Nov.)
O: the Oprah Magazine
“With THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT (Ecco), Amy Tan reaffirms her reputation as a master storyteller, creating intriguing settings, unforgettable characters, and twisty plotlines.”
Kirkus Reviews
Tan, who made her name with The Joy Luck Club (1989), blends two favorite settings, Shanghai and San Francisco, in a tale that spans generations. Granted that courtesans and the places that sheltered them were (and in some places still are) culturally significant in East Asia, Tan takes what might seem an unnecessary risk by setting her latest novel in that too-familiar demimonde (Miss Saigon, Memoirs of a Geisha, etc.). Tan is a skilled storyteller, capable of working her way into and out of most fictional problems, but the reader will be forgiven a sinking feeling at the scenario with which she opens, featuring "the only white woman who owned a first-class courtesan house in Shanghai." Where are the Boxers when you need them? Said white woman, Lulu Minturn, aka Lulu Mimi, is in Shanghai for a reason--and on that reason hinges a larger conceit, the one embodied by the book's title. She has a daughter, and the daughter, naturally enough, has cause to wonder about her ancestry, if little time to worry overmuch about some of the details, since her mom leaves her to fend for herself, not entirely willingly. The chinoiserie and exoticism aside, Violet makes a tough and compelling character, a sort of female equivalent to Yul Brynner as played by Lucy Liu. The members of the "Cloud Beauties," who give Violet her sentimental education, make an interesting lot themselves, but most of the attention is on Violet and the narrative track that finds her on a parallel journey, literally and figuratively, always haunted by "those damned paintings that had belonged to my mother" and that will eventually reveal their secrets. Tan's story sometimes suffers from longueurs, but the occasional breathless, steamy scene evens the score: "He lifted my hips and my head soared and I lost all my senses except for the one that bound us and could not be pulled apart." A satisfyingly complete, expertly paced yarn.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062107329
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
07/15/2014
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
608
Sales rank:
72,584
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.97(d)

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