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.
Written in flowing prose that sweeps the reader down an adventurous path from late nineteenth century America to the cusp of World War II in China, this is a portrayal of strong women you will not soon forget. The Valley of Amazement is well worth the long wait. (Reviewed by Judi Sauerbrey).
The choice to cram [many plot threads] 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.
Tan is a skilled storyteller...A satisfyingly complete, expertly paced yarn.
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.
Starred Review. Ultimately, 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 friendships between women.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by D M Parks Worth The Wait I am an avid reader with a preference for all books set in Asia. Anyone who has read Ms. Tan's prior works knows she is a excellent story teller with an exceptional command of language. Reading THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT I found that I did not just... Read More
In Amy Tan's The Valley of Amazement, sex is used as an instrument of power by the women protagonists. As Little Violet begins her career as a courtesan, she is given this piece of advice: "Always remember, you are creating a world of romance and illusion...you must learn all the arts of enticement and maintain a balance of anticipation and reticence..."
Would that we could claim that balance in our fast-paced modern world! Sex lures us into movie houses and on to the Internet; it creates top picks on the New York Times bestseller list; it is the favorite marketing tool for a variety of products from lingerie to socket wrenches; and it is the basis for what has long been designated...
A brilliantly realistic journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful, this lyrical and emotionally charged novel delves into one of the most mysterious of human relationships: female friendship.
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...