Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
Amy Tan- a name synonymous with novels about the beautiful, yet tender relationship between a mother and a daughter. The Valley of Amazement is another book set in China in the early 1900s.
Violet Minturn knows that she is American and according to her, “I had Yankee ingenuity and an independent mind”. Violet’s world is the first class courtesan house run by her mother and anything beyond the walls of The Hidden Jade Path is non-existent.
When treachery and upheaval uproot Violet from her privileged and protected life into the world of Shanghainese courtesans, her American half struggles to come to terms with her part Chinese origin.
The story’s narrative goes back and forth from Lulu Minturn to her daughter Violet. Tan, being a veteran at such narratives knows how to bring out the emotion in the readers. However, the descriptions that are supposed to amaze, fail to do so. I am guilty of the cardinal sin that most readers hope never to commit. I happy skipped the sections that went on to describe the carnal tactics used by the supposedly coy and supposedly subservient courtesans.
If you are an Amy Tan fan, do read the book. If you are a first timer and want to read about China then or China now, I can recommend some other books.
Rating- 3/4( i wish I could rate in decimals, so consider 3 a bit generous)
The Valley of Amazement
Published by Harper Collins Publishers