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The Valley of Amazement

Posted on 11.20.2013

The Valley of Amazement

>>  Amy Tan’s “The Valley of Amazement” is a worthwhile read from the writer who specializes in exploring the mother-daughter relationship. Violet,  the biracial daughter whose mother owns a Shanghai courtesan house, is one of the protagonists of the book. Her story is one of self-discovery, as she tries to make sense of her racial identity. Additionally, she feels no love from her mother, does not know her father and has only her cat. Part of her search for love leads her to become a courtesan at 14 years old. She learns the art of the courtesan and is taught that love is an illusion. Tan’s settings in Shanghai and eventually San Francisco over the span of 40 years kept me engaged, and her storytelling made me feel like I was being given a tour. While the setting was exciting, I found Violet herself to be annoying and somewhat helpless, which prevented me from getting into her world. Even amateur writers know how to transport a reader to the world of their book. Therefore, I expected more of Tan.


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