9780062107329

The Valley of Amazement

Tan, Amy

ISBN 10: 0062107321 / 0-06-210732-1
ISBN 13: 9780062107329
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: 2014
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:

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.


Review:
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, November 2013: For a hefty half of her gorgeous new novel, The Valley of Amazement, Amy Tan instructs us in the finer points of life as a courtesan in early 20th century China: expect and revel in sensual descriptions of the clothes, the customs, even the not-so-niceties of catering to rich men in a very regimented society. Lulu Minturn is a white Californian who’d run away with a Chinese painter, established the best courtesan house in Shanghai and given birth to a beautiful “Eurasian” (in the parlance of the time) daughter, Violet. Soon, either because she was tricked or deceitful, Lulu abandons Violet and flees back to America; history soon is in danger of repeating itself when Violet gives birth to her own daughter. (Eventually, the scene shifts to California, where the family searches for redemption and reconciliation.) Nobody does mother-daughter angst and cross cultural conflict better than Tan, who has been literally writing the book(s) on these topics for years. What makes this novel special is its meticulous language--readers may be struck by the juxtaposition of poetry and Anglosaxon equivalents in descriptions of courtesans’ sex lives--and its elucidation of the cultural upheavals at the time. This is as much a historical novel as it is a family story, at once intimate and sweeping, personal and political. You’ll have learned something by the end--and you’ll probably also be weeping. -- Sara Nelson

Review

Review:

New York Times bestselling 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 readers 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.

From the Back Cover

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Book Description: Ecco Press, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 135 mm. Brand New Book. New York Times bestseller The Valley of Amazement is an 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 villageShanghai, 1912. Violet Minturn is the daughter of the Amer-ican madam of the city s most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, Violet is separated from her mother and forced to become a virgin courtesan. Spanning more than forty years and two continents, Amy Tan s newest novel maps the lives of three generations of women--and the mystery of an evocative painting known as The Valley of Amazement. Moving from the collapse of China s last imperial dynasty to the growth of anti-foreign sentiment and the inner workings of courtesan houses, The Valley of Amazement interweaves the story of Violet, a celebrated Shanghai courtesan on a quest for both love and identity, and her mother, Lucia, an American woman whose search for penance leads them to an unexpected reunion.The Valley of Amazement is a deeply moving narrative of family secrets, legacies, and the profound connections between mothers and daughters, reminiscent of the compelling territory Tan so expertly mapped in The Joy Luck Club. With her characteristic wisdom, grace, and humor, Tan conjures up a story of inherited trauma, desire, deception, and the power and stubbornness of love. Bookseller Inventory # AAB9780062107329

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Book Description: Ecco. 1 Paperback(s), 2014. soft. Book Condition: New. Spanning more than 40 years, this sweeping epic from the author of The Joy Luck Club and Saving Fish from Drowning moves from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans and a backwater hamlet in China to the estates of the Hudson River Valley. The lives of Violet, the daughter of the American madam in an exclusive courtesan house, and her mother Lucia, who had followed a Chinese painter from San Francisco to Shanghai, are set against the collapse of China's last imperial dynasty, the inner workings of courtesan houses, and the lives of the foreign "Shanghailanders" living in the International Settlement—worlds erased by World War II. "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."—Booklist (starred review)"This utterly engrossing novel is highly recommended to all readers who appreciate an author's ability to transport them to a new world they will not forget. As a plus, this reviewer sensed the harbinger of a sequel by the last page."—Library Journal (starred review) 589. Bookseller Inventory # 49573

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Book Description: Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 608 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 9780062107329

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Book Description: Ecco Press, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 202 x 135 mm. Brand New Book. New York Times bestseller The Valley of Amazement is an 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 villageShanghai, 1912. Violet Minturn is the daughter of the Amer-ican madam of the city s most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, Violet is separated from her mother and forced to become a virgin courtesan. Spanning more than forty years and two continents, Amy Tan s newest novel maps the lives of three generations of women--and the mystery of an evocative painting known as The Valley of Amazement. Moving from the collapse of China s last imperial dynasty to the growth of anti-foreign sentiment and the inner workings of courtesan houses, The Valley of Amazement interweaves the story of Violet, a celebrated Shanghai courtesan on a quest for both love and identity, and her mother, Lucia, an American woman whose search for penance leads them to an unexpected reunion.The Valley of Amazement is a deeply moving narrative of family secrets, legacies, and the profound connections between mothers and daughters, reminiscent of the compelling territory Tan so expertly mapped in The Joy Luck Club. With her characteristic wisdom, grace, and humor, Tan conjures up a story of inherited trauma, desire, deception, and the power and stubbornness of love. Bookseller Inventory # AAB9780062107329

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