The Valley of Amazement

Amy Tan

Ecco, 2013

Agent: Sandra Dijkstra

Amy Tan's The Valley of Amazement is a sweeping, evocative epic of two women's intertwined fates and their search for identity, that moves from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village.

Spanning more than forty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement resurrects pivotal episodes in history: from the collapse of China's last imperial dynasty, to the rise of the Republic, the explosive growth of lucrative foreign trade and anti-foreign sentiment, to the inner workings of courtesan houses and the lives of the foreign "Shanghailanders" living in the International Settlement, both erased by World War II.

A deeply evocative narrative about the profound connections between mothers and daughters, The Valley of Amazement returns readers to the compelling territory of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club. With her characteristic insight and humor, she conjures a story of inherited trauma, desire and deception, and the power and stubbornness of love.


New York Times bestseller, USA Today bestseller, Barnes & Noble bestseller, Los Angeles Times bestseller, IndieBound bestseller, San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, Library Journal pick, Amazon "Best Books of November" pick.

“This utterly engrossing novel is highly recommended to all readers who appreciate an author’s ability to transport them to a new world they will not forget. As a plus, this reviewer sensed the harbinger of a sequel by the last page.”
Library Journal (starred)

“An evocative epic.Tan’s mastery of the lavish world of courtesans and Chinese customs continues to transport”
Publishers Weekly

“Tan is a skilled storyteller. . . A satisfyingly complete, expertly paced yarn.”
Kirkus Reviews

“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 friendship between women.”
Booklist (starred)

The Valley of Amazement is never dull — there’s far too much sex, suffering and intrigue for that…””
The Washington Post

“Amy Tan hasn't published a work of fiction in eight years, so this novel is a long time coming. The story behind it is intriguing, to say the least. With Tan, it's safe to assume what you're signing up for thematically - Asian American familial relationships - as well as compositionally. She's been known to successfully experiment with structure.”
Huffington Post Books

 “Tan fans, who’ve waited eight years for this book, will be enthralled.”
Good Housekeeping

“Written in Tan’s characteristically economical and matter-of-fact style, The Valley of Amazement is filled with memorably idiosyncratic characters. And its array of colorful multilayered stories is given further depth by Tan’s affecting depictions of mothers and daughters. Here are strong women struggling to survive all that life has thrown at them, created by a writer skilled at evoking the roil of emotions and made exploits they experience when they follow their hearts.”
The New York Times Book Review

“The book is exquisitely satisfying, but there are no easy lessons, no promises of enlightenment, only the wisdom of experience that comes from having accompanied Violet on her rough journey. And with that also comes gratitude for the good things life has offered - among them, a novel that grabs your soul.”
The San Francisco Chronicle

The Valley of Amazement is a story of love lost and found, with all that goes with it.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

“With The Valley of Amazement, Amy Tan reaffirms her reputation as a master storyteller, creating intriguing settings, unforgettable characters, and twisty plotlines… The lesion of Tan’s saga seems to lie in a passage from a Walt Whitman poem, whispered from a young mother Violet to her daughter: ‘Resist much, obey little.’ If a woman can live by this simple rule, Violet learns, she will never be defeated.”
O Magazine

The Valley of Amazement [is] akin to her earlier work, yet more sophisticated, and a fine reminder that Amy Tan is herself a master of illusion, and one of the best storytellers around.” Book Review

“Telling the story of a mother-daughter relationship is always an ambitious undertaking. Amy Tan tackles the job with her usual vivid writing and well-drawn characters in her new novel… [The Valley of Amazement] is about mothers and daughters, family and trust — and Tan writes with authority and great believability about these relationships through several generations. And along with a good story, Tan gives readers knowledge about a place and time they likely knew little about. Here’s a book to give to the reader in your life.”
St. Louis Post Dispatch

“In The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan, the author has, once again, written a fascinating tale of strong women as they search for true love through a series of heartbreaking and, sometimes, tragic events that test the limits of human endurance… The book gives us a lifetime’s worth of tragedies which increases the reader's desire to finally have something good happen to the characters. But, due to the author’s skill as a natural story teller, each page is more than worth the wait.  The Valley of Amazement is an amazing book. It works as a historical novel, as well as, a fascinating look into the culture and customs of the Chinese and how they define and influence the lives of some truly courageous women.”

“In her new novel, Tan ditches her magic realist fugues and enters a brutal landscape of Shanghai courtesans, exploring it with new depths of tenderness and pain.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“[Tan is] an accomplished storyteller… the underlying appeal of this book is the weave she makes of the three generations of Minturn women…struggling to accept their fate and each other.”
New York Daily News

“Tan adds a welcome depth and texture to the novel by integrating glimpses of four decades of upheaval in China… By the time she has finished the haunting tale of these two flawed and resilient women, she has created such an enticing portrait of Shanghai that she makes us nostalgic for a city we can never know.”
Boston Sunday Globe

“Tan’s large-hearted, florid and ragged tale goes beyond casual stereotypes. This is one writer’s particular idiom and vision of the world – and within that she offers us a rich cast of characters who both repel and compel.”
Financial Times

"A feast of a novel… Tan deftly draws the reader along as she explores the nature of identity, the joys and pitfalls of love, the ripple effects of the choices we make and the role of fate in our lives.”
Shelf Awareness

 “Tan’s books often deal with mother-daughter relationships, tapping her Chinese-American roots for the familial complexities that arise in the culture clash of East and West. It comes as no surprise that the underlying theme of The Valley of Amazement addresses these differences, but Lucia and Violet are unlike any mother and daughter we’ve met in Tan’s work and perhaps anywhere else." 

The Valley of Amazement is a long and luxurious read, offering riches on every page. Amy Tan has delivered yet another sweeping tale… It’s fascinating.”
Atlanta Journal Constitution 

The Valley of Amazement is an engrossing read that effortlessly draws you in and captures both the sweet taste of acceptance and the bitter taste of disappointment and resentment with an almost painful accuracy… a compelling and emotional read.”
San Francisco Book Review

“[The Valley of Amazement] combines vivid historical details and epic sweep across several decades and two continents with intimate portraits of flawed but engaging women whose resourcefulness and courage are sometimes astounding. Tan might never know her grandmother's real story, but The Valley of Amazement is a fine tribute to her and strong women everywhere.”
Tampa Bay Times