The Valley of Amazement
By Amy Tan
Hello fellow readers!! It is Wednesday again!! Where does the time go? I have been lost in the world of China for the last week. I was sooo excited to score this book on EBAY!! I am a big fan of Amy Tan’s books. If you are an avid reader you have probably read at least one of Amy Tan’s books, or at least heard of her. I think that I have read all of them except one. It has been 8 years since her last book. This book was just released on November 5, 2013.
This story takes us back and forth in time to explore the life of the Chinese courtesans. Violet and her mother Lucia are trapped in worlds where they both become the victims of men and their not so honorable schemes. Amy once again presents us with a less than perfect mother daughter relationship and the issues presented when families are separated by immigration to the U.S.. Lucia goes to American to find her son that was taken from her, but Violet gets left behind in China and becomes very resentful. The book reveals to us that neither has led an easy life. Violet becomes trapped in the world of the Chinese courtesans, much like her mother did. We are given a not so pretty picture of what these girls went through.
The Valley of Amazement is different from Amy’s other books in that it contains many explicit scenes about sex and sexual innuendos. It is descriptive, but tastefully done and not trashy. I think the goal was not to focus on these scenes, but to give a true depiction of what really went on in these houses of pleasure.
In the first few chapters I was wondering where this story was going to go, but in the end I was not disappointed. The end was the best part of the book for me. I was a little surprised at the ending. It is not a happy sail off into the sunset ending, but a more realistic finale. All of the things I love and expect from an Amy Tan book were all there, her beautiful writing style, strong women characters, and their struggles. This is not a happy tale, but an important part of the history of the women in China. I was totally engrossed in this book and couldn’t wait to finish it. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5.
Amy has a great Web page: https://www.amytan.net/ There are also many photos and information on her development of this book on the site.
- Amy Tan: a life that’s stranger than fiction (telegraph.co.uk)
- Amy Tan tells sweeping tale in new book (jsonline.com)
- Amy Tan takes on lives of high-class courtesans in “The Valley of Amazement” (cbsnews.com)
- Amy Tan, interview: ‘We are descended from incredibly fierce women’ (theguardian.com)