The Valley of Amazement

Version: Unabridged
Author: Amy Tan
Narrator: Joyce Bean , Nancy Wu
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published In: November 2013
# of Units: 21 CDs
Length: 16 hours, 39 minutes
Ratings:
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Overview

"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 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.

Reviews (3)

0

Written by April R on October 4th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I enjoyed this book very much. The characters are well developed and woven together in the storyline making it a fantastic read/listen. A bonus...the narration is excellent!!

The Velley og Amazement

Written by monique allen on January 20th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Highly engaging book and story that had the right balance of surprises, tension and intrigue. I\'ve read it twice. Narrators are very engaging.

Written by Audrey Redmond on February 23rd, 2016

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Really enjoyed this novel. Amy Tan can paint a picture with words. Families matter and we all want to be a part of one no matter who they are made up of and we are all human no matter what our skin color or cultural makeup maybe. Love listening to this and will probably listen to it again.

Author Details

Author Details

Tan, Amy

"Amy Tan was born in Oakland, California. Her family lived in several communities in Northern California before settling in Santa Clara. Both of her parents were Chinese immigrants.

Her father, John Tan, was an electrical engineer and Baptist minister who came to America to escape the turmoil of the Chinese Civil War. The harrowing early life of her mother, Daisy, inspired Amy Tan's novel The Kitchen God's Wife. In China, Daisy had divorced an abusive husband but lost custody of her three daughters. She was forced to leave them behind when she escaped on the last boat to leave Shanghai before the Communist takeover in 1949. Her marriage to John Tan produced three children, Amy and her two brothers.

Tragedy struck the Tan family when Amy's father and oldest brother both died of brain tumors within a year of each other. Mrs. Tan moved her surviving children to Switzerland, where Amy finished high school, but by this time mother and daughter were in constant conflict.

Mother and daughter did not speak for six months after Amy Tan left the Baptist college her mother had selected for her to follow her boyfriend to San Jose City College. Tan further defied her mother by abandoning the pre-med course her mother had urged to pursue the study of English and linguistics. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in these fields at San Jose State University. In 1974, she and her boyfriend, Louis DeMattei were married. They were later to settle in San Francisco.

DeMattei, an attorney, took up the practice of tax law, while Tan studied for a doctorate in linguistics, first at the University of California at Santa Cruz, later at Berkeley. By this time, she had developed an interest in the problems of the developmentally disabled. She left the doctoral program in 1976 and took a job as a language development consultant to the Alameda County Association for Retarded Citizens and later directed a training project for developmentally disabled children.

With a partner, she started a business writing firm, providing speeches for salesmen and executives for large corporations. After a dispute with her partner, who believed she should give up writing to concentrate on the management side of the business, she became a full-time freelance writer. Among her business works, written under non-Chinese-sounding pseudonyms, were a 26-chapter booklet called ""Telecommunications and You,"" produced for IBM.

Amy Tan prospered as a business writer. After a few years in business for herself, she had saved enough money to buy a house for her mother. She and her husband lived well on their double income, but the harder Tan worked at her business, the more dissatisfied she became. The work had become a compulsive habit and she sought relief in creative efforts. She studied jazz piano, hoping to channel the musical training forced on her by her parents in childhood into a more personal expression. She also began to write fiction.

Her first story ""Endgame,"" won her admission to the Squaw Valley writer's workshop taught by novelist Oakley Hall. The story appeared in FM, literary magazine, and was reprinted in Seventeen. A literary agent, Sandra Dijkstra, was impressed enough with Tan's second story ""Waiting Between the Trees,"" to take her on as a client. Dijkstra encouraged Tan to complete an entire volume of stories.

Just as she was embarking on this new career, Tan's mother fell ill. Amy Tan promised herself that if her mother recovered, she would take her to China, to see the daughter who had been left behind almost forty years before. Mrs. Tan regained her health and mother and daughter departed for China in 1987. The trip was a revelation for Tan. It gave her a new perspective on her often-difficult relationship with her mother, and inspired her to complete the book of stories she had promised her agent.

On the basis of the completed chapters and a synopsis of the others, Dijkstra found a publisher for the book, now called The Joy Luck Club. With a $50,000 advance from G.P. Putnam's Sons, Tan quit business writing and finished her book in a little more than four months.

Upon its publication in 1989, Tan's book won enthusiastic reviews and spent eight months on the New York Times best-seller list. paperback rights sold for $1.23 million. The book has been translated in 17 languages, including Chinese. Her subsequent novel, The Kitchen God's Wife (1991) confirmed her reputation and enjoyed excellent sales. Since then Amy Tan has published two books for children, The Moon Lady and The Chinese Siamese Cat and two novels The Hundred Secret Senses (1998) and her latest, The Bonesetter's Daughter (2001). "