Friday, November 15, 2013

Review: The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

Publisher: Ecco
Pages: 608
Received: Received a copy from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: November 5, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Moving between the dazzling world of courtesans in turn of the century Shanghai, a remote Chinese mountain village, and the rough-hewn streets of nineteenth-century San Francisco, Amy Tan's sweeping new novel maps the lives of three generations of women connected by blood and history-and the mystery of an evocative painting known as "The Valley of Amazement."

Violet is one of the most celebrated courtesans in Shanghai, a beautiful and intelligent woman who has honed her ability to become any man's fantasy since her start as a "Virgin Courtesan" at the age of twelve. Half-Chinese and half-American, she moves effortlessly between the East and the West. But her talents belie her private struggle to understand who she really is and her search for a home in the world. Abandoned by her mother, Lucia, and uncertain of her father's identity, Violet's quest to truly love and be loved will set her on a path fraught with danger and complexity-and the loss of her own daughter.

Lucia, a willful and wild American woman who was once herself the proprietress of Shanghai's most exclusive courtesan house, nurses her own secret wounds, which she first sustained when, as a teenager, she fell in love with a Chinese painter and followed him from San Francisco to Shanghai. Her search for penance and redemption will bring her to a startling reunion with Flora, Violet's daughter, and will shatter all that Violet believed she knew about her mother.

Spanning fifty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement is a deeply moving narrative of family secrets, the legacy of trauma, and the profound connections between mothers and daughters, that returns readers to the compelling territory Amy Tan so expertly mapped in The Joy Luck Club. With her characteristic wisdom, grace, and humor, she conjures a story of the inheritance of love, its mysteries and senses, its illusions and truths

My Review:

I love books revolving around families and what a journey does Amy Tan take readers on in this book. This is a very long book but it takes place over such a large span of years and really brings the characters to life. I really appreciated the length of this book because I really got to know Violet and see her grow and learn more about herself as she deals with a lot of bad luck.

After losing her mother, Violet has to learn to stand on her own two feet and she is thrown into a dark part of the world of Shanghai. With some help from an old friend, Violet grows and starts out on her own quest for love, and she learns that not everything is perfect. As events happen, Violet begins to understand what her own mother may have gone through and she begins to forgive this woman who she has not seen in years fro the mistakes she made.

Amy Tan brings out how difficult it was back in the early 1900's to be half Chinese and half-American, they are not received well and it greatly affects Violet's life when she learns the truth about her heritage. I loved Violet and her approach to things, she is very strong willed and always has her mind set about what she will do. She goes through life wanting approval from people, she has had difficulties truly believing in love because she is not really sure how to show it.

What I really enjoy is how we get a view of both Violet and her life in Shanghai, and also we get a view of what brought Violet's mother Lulu to Shanghai in the first place. I think learning about Violet's mother teaches us a lot behind Violet's character. Amy Tan really uses this story to show a beautiful connection between mothers and daughters, and what learning to love can show us about life. The ending was absolutely beautiful, and really brings the story together, as all these reunions begin to take place and Violet finally learns about love and letting the walls down so that people are able to really see her.

For more information on Amy Tan and The Valley of Amazement, check out the Harper Collins Canada website.

1 comment:

  1. I'm about half way through this and I'm really enjoying it. It's such a fascinating story!



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