Amy Tan The Valley of Amazement

ISBN 13: 9780007476480

The Valley of Amazement

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9780007476480: The Valley of Amazement

An expansive, heartbreaking novel from the internationally bestselling author of ‘The Joy Luck Club’.

In turn-of-the-century Shanghai, Violet Minturn is raised by her American mother, the mistress of the city’s most renowned courtesan house. When the revolution comes, a cruel deception forces Violet to become a virgin courtesan.

‘The Valley of Amazement’ is the story of three women, bound by blood and betrayal. But, as she struggles to understand her heritage, it is Violet’s determination to forge her own destiny that propels this bittersweet tale of family secrets, changing identities and lost love.

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Review:

Praise for ‘The Valley of Amazement’:

‘Tan explores, sensitively, the edges of some thorny topics ... Chinese-Americans are among the most dynamic, and socially cohesive, ethnic groups in the US ... Tan is one of their leading voices ... Tan’s fiction is, as always, hugely readable.’ Sunday Times

‘Tan, who was born in the US to Chinese immigrant parents, is a gifted storyteller ... Just as Violet is a complex character beyond her Asian and white ethnic roots, Tan’s large-hearted, florid and ragged tale goes beyond casual stereotypes. 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.’ Financial Times

‘Admirers of Amy Tan will love her latest blockbuster ... a warm, expansive story, examining the subtle bonds between mothers and daughters.’ Mail on Sunday

‘The characters are wonderful. You can’t help but fall in love with people who are named Cracked Egg or Magic Cloud ...For fans of historical fiction, ‘The Valley of Amazement’ offers a fascinating insight into a hidden world belonging to a bygone era, as it flits from harrowing to humorous.’ Stylist Magazine

‘Expansive, poised and, at times, heartbreaking, this delicately-spun tale, which has the grace of a courtly dance and the subtleties of a thousand chess moves, will be loved by fans of Tan’s bestseller “The Joy Luck Club”.’ Sunday Express

‘She has surpassed herself ... She has by no means exhausted her supply of fictional women who pass to each other, through the generations, a determination not to be broken, no matter what.’ Independent on Sunday

‘Packs enough drama to keep readers going till the end.’ Guardian

‘Historic sweep mixes with erotic candour in a heady mix, brought to an excellent bake by the skillful Amy Tan.’ Daily Mail

‘A lush historical epic.’ Vogue

‘A vivid portrait of life in 19th Century China, with some rather saucy Fifty Shades-style sex scenes thrown in.’ Good Housekeeping

From the Back Cover:

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.

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