The Resource The Valley of Amazement, Amy Tan

The Valley of Amazement, Amy Tan

Label
The Valley of Amazement
Title
The Valley of Amazement
Statement of responsibility
Amy Tan
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Violet Minturn, a half-Chinese/half-American courtesan who deals in seduction and illusion in Shanghai, struggles to find her place in the world, while her mother, Lucia, tries to make sense of the choices she has made and the men who have shaped her
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • LibraryReads Favorites, 2013
  • New York Times Notable Book, 2013
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Lulu, an American, is the only white woman running a first-class courtesan house in Shanghai in 1905. Burdened with secret anguish and loss, she relies on her loyal associate, Golden Dove, to help her create an enclave of confidentiality, courtly seduction, and voluptuous pleasure for the city’s most influential men. Her lonely young daughter, Violet, has taken to eavesdropping and spying to survive. Shocked to be outed as half-Chinese, Violet thinks, “half-breed, half-hated,” and indeed, this exposure is only the beginning of an all-out assault against her sense of self and freedom. In her first novel in eight years, Tan (Saving Fish from Drowning, 2005) returns to her signature mother-daughter focus as she pulls back the curtain on an aggressively sexist society after the fall of the last Chinese dynasty precipitates monumental change. Reaching back to Lulu’s San Francisco childhood and forward to Violet’s operatic struggles and traumas and reliance on her smart, loyal mentor, Magic Gourd, this scrolling saga is practically a how-to on courtesan life and a veritable orgy of suspense and sorrow. 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. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An ambitious, 20-city author tour backed by extensive advertising and promotion will help make Tan’s bold epic a blockbuster. -- Seaman, Donna (Reviewed 09-15-2013) (Booklist, vol 110, number 2, p40)
  • A new Amy Tan novel is an event. Under her sharp-eyed observations of mothers and daughters and their inexplicable bonds, is a powerful story of love, family, courage, and history. -- Kaite Stover, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO. (LibraryReads, November 2013)
  • 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.) --Staff (Reviewed July 29, 2013) (Publishers Weekly, vol 260, issue 30, p)
  • 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.(Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2013)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10221835
Cataloging source
UPZ
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Tan, Amy
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Americans
  • Art
  • Courtesans
  • Family secrets
  • Identity (Psychology)
  • Kidnapping
  • Mothers and daughters
  • Shanghai (China)
  • San Francisco (Calif.)
Target audience
adult
Label
The Valley of Amazement, Amy Tan
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
984895
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xiv, 589 pages
Isbn
9780062107312
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780062107312
  • (OCoLC)858872564
Label
The Valley of Amazement, Amy Tan
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
984895
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xiv, 589 pages
Isbn
9780062107312
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780062107312
  • (OCoLC)858872564

Library Locations

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      30.3116523 -97.6902298
    • Yarborough BranchBorrow it
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      30.3234684 -97.74072129999999
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